Tuesday, March 7, 2017

"Present over Perfect" -- Three Words Stirring Up All the Feels

So, I’ve started Shauna Niequist’s new book, Present over Perfect, and y’all, it is doing strange things to my heart.

I read sections and think, Gosh—how did she know that about me?

Confession: When I started reading, it’s because I had two books from Christmas that I wanted to read. But they sat on my end table, staring daggers into my soul and feeling like a weighty to do list rather than a book I, at one point, was dying to crack open.

I don’t have time to read, I thought.

I’m too busy, I said.

And so, I started Shauna’s book not only approaching it as a chore but also attempting to rush through it so it could be checked off my list.

On to the next thing…

So, I skimmed. I read chapters in a hurry—five or ten minutes before leaving for work.

And I read them like, “Yeah, yeah—so good. Workaholics. Idol of productivity. Busy. Say No. Yes, yes—good stuff.”

About five chapters in, I am driving to work, maybe three weeks ago, and what I’d read—what I’d attempted to skim—stayed on my mind.

She says, “We decide where our time goes. There’s so much freedom in that, and so much responsibility” (p. 47).

It was like the Lord just quietly whispered, Slow down. You need to catch this.

The next day, I stopped—I sat down—for more time. A longer quiet.

And I started over.

So now I’m only 30% into the book, according to Goodreads, and I’ve been reading for over a month.
I can’t describe all the ways it’s tugging on my heart, pulling the break cord and asking me to stop and to feel and to process.

I read and don't skim. I don't rush. I re-read and reflect and move to the next page.

Possibly my whole life, my feelings of accomplishment and my source of pride has always come from my work—what I do, what I’ve done.

I’m so immersed in the culture of work, work, work—more, more, more, that I feel like I’m taking baby steps to find what’s healthy.

I’m an academic, and perhaps that’s the worst for performance people. Achievements. Grades. Type As, usually. We live for the pressure and accolades and the euphoria of work accomplished.

Everything is a goal.

Everything can be measured.

Pass or fail.


What a scary word!

So, I’m still belly-deep in this book, and I’m very much processing what it means for me.

But one baby step? I turned off email notifications on my phone.

Two baby step? I now take a full hour at lunch—without emails—even if I can eat in 30 minutes.

Three baby step? I sit. Quietly. Every morning. I might have to rush, rush, rush to get ready in time, but then I sit. And I read. Or I listen to music. Or I pray.

But mostly, I stop.

Friends, I don’t point any fingers on this, but I encourage you to think: What can I turn off today? What choice can I take responsibility for—to give myself the gift of time today? 


Pssssst: Transparent Thursdays are moving to Transparent Tuesdays. Same name. Same content. Just on a different day. :) 

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