Our book club book for June is “Present Over Perfect” by Shauna Niequist!!!! I LOVE THIS BOOK! You can buy it HERE. It is so beautiful, insightful, and life-changing. Choosing quotes for this post was almost impossible because I had at least ten that I wanted to use before I was even done with the first chapter…but I will start with this quote from Brené Brown: “Present Over Perfect is an open-armed invitation to welcome the people we love, and even ourselves, back into our lives.”
I first heard about this from my darling friend Kim Christianson on her blog post that you can read HERE. Clearly I knew I had to read it based on this post!
I also listened to Oprah interview Shauna Niequist on a fabulous Supersoul Sunday podcast that you can listen to HERE. All gold.
Shauna states “This book is an account of my winding, messy journey from exhaustion to peace, from isolation to connection, from hustling and multitasking to sacred presence. And this book is an invitation too-a hand reaching across the pages, inviting you into the same journey, because it has been the greatest, most challenging, most rewarding sea-change of my adult life…I’ve been remaking my life from the inside out, and I want to invite you into that creative, challenging, life-altering work. It is work, of course. It feels, I’d imagine, like adding a basement to a house that’s already been standing for decades. I thought it would be more like adding new shutters, but I’m finding it to be more like lifting up a home and starting to dig, reorienting the very foundation. There is nothing superficial about this process…I’ve failed miserably and begun again, asked for help, asked for grace, asked for prayer. And beyond those things I’ve done: the moments that I’ve allowed-or forced-myself to stop, to rest, to breathe, to connect. That’s where life is, I’m finding. That’s where grace is. That’s where delight is.”
Now that we are four days into our summer vacation, I can’t think of a better book to read and focus to embrace. I already feel like summer break is going to fly by, and I desperately want to look back on it knowing that I was present and connected to my family, to myself, and to each moment. Shauna stated “What I’m learning, essentially, is to stand where I am, plain and sometimes tired. Unflashy, profoundly unspectacular. But present and connected and grounded deeply in the love of God, which is changing everything.”
I love Brené’s story in her foreword about having Shauna over despite thoughts that her house was a disaster, she was late on writing deadlines, she was so tired, and she wanted to numb out by herself with food and tv. Brené instead invited Shauna into her home wearing comfy pants, offering food she had heated up, and with honest words about how she was doing. She states “Our time together that night was sacred for a simple reason: we chose to be present over pretending to be perfect.” As I reread this story last night, I was filled with so much gratitude for my beloved friends who not only practice being present over being perfect but also allow others to feel comfortable doing the same.
The last paragraph before Part 1 reads “My prayer is that this book will be a thousand invitations, springing up from every page, calling you to leave behind the heavy weight of comparison, competition, and exhaustion, and to recraft a life marked by meaning, connection, and unconditional love.”