Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Present Over Perfect

To be present. To be fully in a moment. To be intentional with my time and my decisions. That has been a goal of mine these past few months. But I never thought about how perfectionism tied into the idea of being present until I started reading 'Present Over Perfect' by Shauna Niequist. The cover itself says, “Leaving behind frantic for a simpler, more soulful way of living.” Sign me up! At one part, the book states:
“Sink deeply into the world as it stands. Breathe in the smell of rain and the scuff of leaves as they scrape across driveways on windy nights. This is where life is, not in some imaginary, photo-shopped dreamland. Here. Now. You, just as you are. Me, just as I am. This world, just as it is. This is the good stuff. This is the best stuff there is. Perfect has nothing on truly, completely, wide-eyed, open-souled present.”
We get so caught up in the idea of perfect, we lose focus of who we are and what we are doing. In the quest to be perfect, we forget to be present. These past few months I’ve tried to worry less about how my hair looks or if I’m saying the right thing or when my next appointment is and more on being fully where I am in the moment. It changes everything. It’s like wearing glasses for the first time. You become more aware, of yourself, of others, of your surroundings and thoughts and behaviors and feelings. It looks a lot like random smiles walking to the mailbox or tears in the middle of a workout class. It looks like feeling deeply and trusting emotions and active listening, to myself and to others. It’s midnight journaling and deep breathing and vulnerable phone calls to friends. It’s a whole new world when you choose to focus on the present, in all of its beauty and mess, rather than the false idea of perfection and the ‘shoulds’.

Friday, September 2, 2016


So often as a society we value busyness and a full schedule. We have silent contests with our friends and family to see who is the busiest, who has the least amount of downtime, who is the most tired. I admit that I have been a part of this silent contest for far too long. We value busyness because we confuse it with accomplishments. However, you can accomplish so much more when you take a minute to pause and rest.

I learned that lesson this summer at Selah House. Selah literally means “an invitation to pause and rest.” I wouldn’t say I had a particularly restful summer, but I learned to value of true rest. Rest that can only be found in the Lord. I found that down times have always been a source of anxiety for me. Free time allows me to rest, however, I rest in myself and get stuck in my head, and it ends up being very unrestful. However, Psalm 37:7 calls us to rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him. There is something so freeing about resting in the Lord. It’s the ultimate rest.

This summer, we frequently listened to the song “Breathe” by Jonny Diaz. One of the lines in the song says “Breathe, just breathe. Come and rest at My feet and be, just be. Let your weary spirit rest. Lay down what’s good and find what’s best. Just breathe.”

Lay down what’s good and find what’s best. Lay down our busy schedules full of appointments and fun things and obligations. Find true rest in Jesus. I “accomplished” so much this summer, personally. I took a pause, and time to reflect, and in those 6 weeks, I put the value of “busyness” aside and allowed myself to rest. I did not feel lazy. I did not feel weak. I felt renewed and full and I had time to learn so much about myself and about others and about God.
So as the school year starts up and we all find ourselves in the scramble of busy, remember that God has given us Selah- an invitation to pause and rest. And finding true rest in Him in enough to replenish our souls and strengthen us for the year ahead!