Have you ever read a book that made you wonder if the author wrote the book about you? Every detail speaks to you as if you yourself were interviewed my the author, and you find yourself underlining whole paragraphs because one sentence isn’t enough? These were my feeling as i read Shauna Niequist book, Present over perfect.
This book was a suggestion made by one of my book club members who thought it would be a great first read, she was right. From the moment i read the book i knew that i needed to read it. Shauna words read like an old friend who knows you intimately, one you trust enough to tell you life changing advice. This book is not structured as a how to, but semi autobiographical. She shares stories of her past, drawing in her readers to her experiences and the lessons taught by them. Her openness about her faith walk, family, friendships, and career are unapologetic, she present her self with an authentic heart, not ashamed to be seen as what she is, and proud enough to show her readers where she is now. Not perfect, but on the road to present living.
I would admit that i was unsure that Shauna story would align with mine. I am a single female, still trying to find her way. Shauna, an established writer, mother, and wife. After reading the first three chapters, i quickly discarded our lack of coinciding lives and began to recognize the similarities in our need for perfection, the desire to be seen as strong and worthy of recognition and respect. Suddenly there it was, a connection. we both valued perfection, valued it more than God had ever intended for any of us.
When we begin to view life as a variety of shelves to organize perfectly, our life begins to lose its value. A Perfect life is not a unique life, everyone attempts to appear perfect. Rarely do we view our short comings as unique to our journey, a tool to help, rather than a flaw to hide. Present living is more about evaluating where we are, and accepting that we are doing the best we can, and less about checking everything off a to-do list. The latter is what creates a more fulfilling life.
Three Questions to ask while reading.
1.Favorite chapter in the book.
Agency. This chapter is all about authentic, brave living. Living beyond the expectations of others, and the unrealistic expectations we put on ourselves. Its about going back to the basics, the silence and living the life God intended us to live. One full of passion, connection, meaning, love, grace and spirit.
2. Three meaningful quote.
– ” Owning one’s life, for better and for worse, saying out loud, This is who i am, this is who i’m not, this is what i want, this is what i’m leaving behind.” (This is the best expression of what authentic living should be)
– ” I thought the doing and the busyness would keep me safe. They keep me numb.”
– ” What’s changing everything for me is a new understanding that we get to decide how we want to live. We get to shape our days and our weeks, and if we don’t, they’ll get shaped by the wide catch-all of “normal and “typical, ” and who wants that?”
3. The take away.
Present living is not perfect living, its whole living, connected living, and for me Christ centered living.
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