I just finished the book Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist and while I was reading it, I found myself not wanting to put it down. Okay fine, that’s how I am with most the books I read, but something was different about this book. It was genuine; it was raw; and it was touching.
Niequist is, was, a perfectionist, like so many of us try to be. She ran herself ragged chasing after a career that left her feeling empty. As a result, she was neglecting her husband and her children, the people that mattered the most to her in the world.
The book was her story and her journey of saying no to the things and the people that she didn’t hold close to her heart and saying yes to more of the things that brought her joy, saying yes to what was going to benefit the well-being of her soul and her people’s as well.
The few days it took me to read the book I was consciously aware of how unconnected I was to the world around me. And it broke my heart. I don’t want to wake up and simply trudge through the day. I don’t want to go through the motions and never actually truly enjoy anything.
But who’s to blame me for feeling like I live this way? We live in a culture where phone screens lit up at the dinner table are the norm, it’s easier to send an email about a problem than to actually have a face to face conversation, our cars basically drive themselves. No wonder we never have to really feel anything. No wonder people have to go on journeys to find themselves.
But what can we do? Delete all social media? Unrealistic. Go back to hand written letters? Not gonna happen.
I don’t want to wake up one day and find that I spent more time worrying how many likes my post on Instagram got than I did talking to someone I love after they had a rough day.
My core group leader used the word intentional a lot this past year. At first, I wasn’t real sure what she meant by it. Obviously I know what the word means, but wasn’t sure how you could live intentionally.
Slowly, but surely, I find that living intentionally is a way we can be present instead of stressing to be perfect. I haven’t seemed to master this yet, and I’m not sure if I ever will, but I’m working on it. As am I working on connecting better to the people physically close to me and the people close to my heart.
I can’t wait to go home and be with my people. I can’t wait to hear their stories from the summer and tell them mine. I can’t wait to make new memories and go on more adventures. I can’t wait to watch the sunset at the lake surrounded by all my cousins as we laugh at each other and roast marsh-mellows. But until them I’m being present. I’m done trying to live a “perfect” life – not like I was anyways.
And as my mom says, “No matter where you go, there you are.”