Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living

Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living


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In these pages, New York Times bestselling author Shauna Niequist invites you to consider the landscape of your own life, and what it might look like to leave behind the pressure to be perfect and begin the life-changing practice of simply being present, in the middle of the mess and the ordinariness of life.

As she puts it: "A few years ago, I found myself exhausted and isolated, my soul and body sick. I was tired of being tired, burned out on busy. And, it seemed almost everyone I talked with was in the same boat: longing for connection, meaning, depth, but settling for busy.

"I am a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, neighbor, writer, and I know all too well that settling feeling. But over the course of the last few years, I've learned a way to live, marked by grace, love, rest, and play. And it's changing everything.

"Present Over Perfect is an invitation to this journey that changed my life. I’ll walk this path with you, a path away from frantic pushing and proving, and toward your essential self, the one you were created to be before you began proving and earning for your worth."

Written in Shauna's warm and vulnerable style, this collection of essays focuses on the most important transformation in her life, and maybe yours too: leaving behind busyness and frantic living and rediscovering the person you were made to be. Present Over Perfect is a hand reaching out, pulling you free from the constant pressure to perform faster, push harder, and produce more, all while maintaining an exhausting image of perfection.

Shauna offers an honest account of what led her to begin this journey, and a compelling vision for an entirely new way to live: soaked in grace, rest, silence, simplicity, prayer, and connection with the people that matter most to us.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780310342991
Publisher: Zondervan
Publication date: 08/09/2016
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 22,037
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Shauna Niequist is the author of Cold Tangerines, Bittersweet, Bread & Wine and Savor. She is married to Aaron, and they have two wild and silly and darling boys, Henry and Mac. They live outside Chicago, where Aaron leads The Practice and is recording a project called A New Liturgy. Shauna also writes for the Storyline Blog, and for IF:Table, she is a member of the Relevant podcast, and a guest teacher at her church. Shauna’s three great loves are her family, dinner parties, and books, and she believes that vulnerable storytelling, hard laughter, and cold pizza for breakfast can cure almost anything.

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Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living (Signed Book) 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I feel so much gratitude for this beautiful work. The writing is clear and easy-to-swallow, while remaining poetic and deeply perceptive. I devoured Shauna's book in three days! Thank you for planting (in my overworked brain) the seed of desire for a more connected, loving, present life. After the first couple of chapters, the control-freak within wanted to see a list of practical ways to implement this philosophy in the "right" way. Having finished the book, I'm so glad that it wasn't prescriptive. I need and want to stop striving for perfection; this piece helped me understand how and why I do it. I realize now that I want to restructure my life in a way that accurately represents my priorities. Shauna, thank you for this beautiful, honest, courageous book. Your struggles and challenges have given you the ability to help others. I know that this will resonate deeply with anyone who picks it up-especially hard-working women.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Shauna Niequist helped me take a hard and uncomfortable look at my life and the people-pleasing habits I had developed that left me physically, spiritually, and emotionally drained. Her words of wisdom allowed me to do some serious soul-searching during a time when my body had to heal physically. Thank you, Shauna, for your honesty and inspiration. This book is truly life-changing for anyone struggling to find peace in our culture that demands more than is humanly possible for anyone who wants to remain sane and grounded in the what matters most- love, family, peace, and joy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Absolutely loved this book. I want to read it every year. I want to continually be reminded to live exactly like I was designed to live. Without the crazy extra that makes life too stressful and exhausting-thus taking a toll on our families and souls. I feel as though the lessons from Shauna's words are going to change my marriage, my parenting, how I work, how I spend my time and how we celebrate holidays forever. This book couldn't have come at a better time in life. I'm so thankful and grateful for the book Present Over Perfect. I'm sharing it with all my girlfriends. So life changing.
InspirationClothesline More than 1 year ago
A few months ago I heard that my favorite author, Shauna Niequist, had a new book coming out and the title... Present Over Perfect said it all. Impeccable timing, god-appointed if you ask me. I agreed to review the book and in some ways it was almost debilitating. I felt a responsibility I haven't felt before to the book, the topic, and to my readers who this story may impact. And then I had to let that go. As I did, the book became my constant companion. I couldn't put it down. Every page filled with chicken scratch notes, doodles, and musings. Some thoughts on the book. - It is a memoir, a story about how Niequist unearths Present Over Perfect in her life. It is not the typical "self help book" and really shouldn't be approached though that lens. - The story is true to her personal process, and is not completely linear. I think it is this fact that helped me unearth how the story and the lessons she learned pertained to me. - This story is not universal, but the lessons may be. - Shauna loves Jesus with her whole heart and this is exuded through the entire story. She shares transparently because this is who God made her to be and if you are lucky enough to learn something from her story, if you are able to walk away with just a bit of insight, then the gift is yours for the taking. - Shauna does not give you an equation, a solution, or even a set of easy to ingest bullet points for how to obtain presence over perfection. As I began the story it became clear to me that Niequist and I come from very different places and fairly early in the book she acknowledges a group of people that she didn't believe even existed, " some people, apparently, feel solid and loved, and secure in their most inside secret parts." As I read this I had to acknowledge that I am one of those people and so this story was not completely relatable to my life, Niequist really comes from the opposite perspective. When I read her book Bread and Wine I felt like she filled the pages with words directly from my heart and that she literally served my heart and mind up on a platter. I knew early that reading this book was not going to provide that same exact comfort, feeling known and relating to every.single.word. But I also knew I needed these words. That said every page of Present Over Perfect had something I could learn from, something that I felt like the Lord wanted me to read, explore, and dive into. This book is a spring board for me. I believe it could be for you too. Niequist uses literature, poetry, music, imagery, and Scripture to point you to the Lord. She utilizes prayer to center herself and bring her back to who God made her to be. She meditates on Scripture. She uses silence. She has found places in her life that encourage her to connect with herself and with her creator, and visits them frequently. Healing, groundedness. I'm telling you this book is a gem and completely a place for you me to start. I hope you will grab the book and join me as I explore "Present" further. I did receive a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
JennGrand More than 1 year ago
I've always been a huge fan of Shauna Niequist, Savor, her daily devotional book is a favorite of mine, and Bread and Wine is on my nightstand to be read very, very soon! So when I heard she was writing a book about being present over perfect, I was super excited to read it! I've strived for ways to make my life more simple, not always being successful, but this book was a huge help in aiding to that end! Shauna puts it this way: "I was tired of being tired, burned out on busy. And, it seemed almost everyone I talked with was in the same boat: longing for connection, meaning, depth, but settling for busy." And she invites readers to join her on her journey away from pushing on to the next thing, and instead focusing on who you are, who God created you to be and realizing where your worth truly comes from.
EBurkhead More than 1 year ago
Shauna's book Present Over Perfect is focused on pushing for connection, meaning and depth over settling for busy and perfection. After finding herself exhausted and isolated, Shauna was sick of being tired, burned out and busy. This book is an invitation to a journey that changed her life - the journey away from frantic pushing and proving, toward a path to find the person you were created to be before you began proving and earning for your worth. I have read other books by Shauna and truly love her writing style. She has a way of weaving words that is absolutely artistic. Vulnerability is found in her pages, and this book is no different. It's a collection of essays filled to the brim with stories soaked in grace. Seeing her speak at The Influence Conference a couple years ago and at the Belong Tour in Columbus, Ohio last weekend increased my love of Shauna! She's so real and genuine, and it shows in her speaking and in this book! I highly recommend this book.
polkadottyplace More than 1 year ago
Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist has gotten a lot of hype lately and I was excited to read it after hearing all the positive things about it. The book definitely lives up to its expectations. I found myself taking notes throughout, writing ideas in the margins, asking myself honest questions about my priorities and identifying with many areas the book addresses. Niequist writes from the perspective of a busy wife, mom and writer trying to focus on what is really important in her life. She points out that there are a lot of people that put expectations on you and that it's your job to decide what you say yes to and what things you make a priority in your life. We decide what we spend our time on and we have important choices to make. The message is impactful, gives you tons to think about and reevaluate in your own life. I loved the idea that less is better than more in all areas of your life, her emphasis giving yourself time to truly rest and connecting with real people to build relationships that last. I would have love to have done it in a book club format so I could have discussed chapters with friends. It's very thought provoking book and is my favorite one she's written.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! The author, through her personal experiences helps you to look at your life and begin to make positive changes, always with God in mind.
Barb52 More than 1 year ago
While I enjoyed reading and absorbing Shauna's ideas about living life at a different pace and making choices which are healthier, I was not blown away. I found it to be an average read.
Bonniesplace More than 1 year ago
To those reviewers who said this book was rambling and they could not relate to the author’s life: I would say....”Relate, don’t compare!!” I have the audible version of this book and cannot say enough positive things about it. I have the privilege of having a very good nursing administrator friend who got off the treadmill of the rat race after reading this book. Shauna’s words hit me right between the eyes when she talked about racing for that next promotion, or trying to increase productivity, or trying to keep the house pristine clean. I am still trying to figure out who I was trying to impress. Shauna suggests scaling back to only the necessary in every area of our lives - clothes books, jobs, kitchen “stuff”...and so many other “thing” we hold onto. I cried, I laughed, I paused the book to slow it down so I could take notes...and then I cried some more I put it on to listen as I fell asleep, and then I would rewind it in the morning to find out what I missed. I finished listening to the book this morning...and now comes the hard part. Scaling back and putting this into practice. Listening to the book helped me have some hard conversations with my husband and then to REALLY listen to his heart. It made me pay attention when my kids or friends or colleagues were talking to me. It is making me look at my closet and want to get rid of anything that doesn’t either bring me joy or that I wear on a regular basis. And most important of all, it has remade my spiritual life and the way I see and talk to God. I can’t say enough good things about this book and I have sent a copy to my sister and college roommate and anyone who I care about. Get it, read it, listen to it!! You will not be disappointed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read! Highly recommend!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book seemed to be kind of redundant. Even somewhat confusing. It had some good points but probably would not recommend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In a world where us women are judged by how long our “to do” list is, this book reminds us what’s really important lies within your soul! Loved it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed reading this book and it is the perfect season to sit still and grow!
KateaLeigh More than 1 year ago
Unfortunately I was disappointed by this book. It was complete Enthusiasm and Mysticism. It points you inward completely.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book has changed my life. This was the first book that I have ever read by Shauna, and I am hooked! She is so personal in her writing. It feels like you're talking to a friend. I highly recommend this to anyone who needs a breath of fresh air and something uplifting. I couldn't put this book down! I love the personal touches (quotes, pieces of advice, etc.) throughout the book. Thank you Shauna for a wonderful book! I will be re-reading this for sure!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago