Listening to: You are Enough by Sleeping at Last
I’m back with another book review. This one is one I’ve been so excited to do, because it seems like forever since her last book released. Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist. Shauna is my hero. I wish I could sit down with her, perhaps over pizza or a thick club sandwich, a glass of dry champagne, and chat. She is my soul sister, someone who I feel like God created specifically for me to find because he knew how influential her voice would be to my life. I tweet her occasionally, because WE ARE CLOSE and google all the items she posts about on Instagram. I’m a fan.
I’ve loved Shauna since I read Cold Tangerines. Her voice, attention to detail, and story telling ability spoke volumes to me. Bittersweet, until Present Over Perfect, is my all time favorite of hers. The essays “On Desperation and Cold Pizza”, “Love Song for Fall,” “Ravenous” and “Steak Frites” are my favorites.
Present Over Perfect is a story about giving up the “doing” for the “being.” More love, less hustle. More time spent on back porches and reading to your kids, and less time proving, pushing, pursuing some weird unattainable standards you may have for yourself. Shauna shares personal stories of how all of the proving and pushing affected her life, her kids, her marriage. She talks about the ways she changed it, how hard it was, and how extraordinarily sweet her life has become since stepping into this present way of living.
In one of my favorite essays, Agency, she talks about remaking your life:
“We get to decide, which is both so freeing and such a beautiful responsibility. You can be a vegan. You can be a priest. You can homeschool. You can train for a triathalon. You can live in the city. You can read the classics. You can buy all of your clothes from a vintage shop. You can buy a Vespa. You can learn to speak Italian or Farsi. This life you’re building is entirely your creation, fashioned out of your dreams and fears. What do you want?”
How freeing is that? How scary is that, asking yourself, “No really, what do I want? What does my soul crave? What do I believe, at my core, will fulfill me?”
The whole book is like one super honest, super encouraging, coffee chat. Shauna speaks so honestly and freely about her journey to being present. She offers a deep breath, permission to take a break from the belief that we have to push, hustle, provide, to be worth something.
I LOVED this book, and will be buying it for everyone I know who needs permission to step back, and remake their life. This book is life-altering. It’s been the first thing I read in the morning and the last thing I read at night, soaking up her advice on everything from wearing real pajamas to bed, to taking coffee outside on the porch.
Lets be brave and be present, shall we? Let’s live in the love of which we were created. Let’s be honest, and kind, and do what we were created to do.
“He doesn’t tell the snow to thaw and become rain, or the rain to freeze itself into snow. He says, essentially: do your thing. Do the thing that you love to do, that you’ve been created to do.” [From “On Snow”, Present Over Perfect]