Present After Perfect
The Art of Living Slowly
There's a book I am re-reading called "Present Over Perfect" by Shauna Niequist. It was very influential for me the first time I read it, two years ago. I was actually in Kenya when I read it. Living in the Masai Mara community, volunteering at a birth center, life truly slowed down for me. So many "extras" in my life were stripped away, choices and distractions vanished, I was forced to learn to be quiet and more contemplative, more God- dependent.
Since I've returned home, I have become more aware of the temptation to rush and hurry, strive and achieve, the desire to move quickly or dream ahead to the next thing instead of treasuring the here and now. And I find that my rushing and moving, challenges my relationships with other and even God.
There's a quote in the book that says:
"My regrets: how many years I bruised people with my fragmented anxious presence. How many moments of connections I missed- too busy, too tired, too frantic and strung out on the drug of efficiency."
I relate to this, in that often I find myself distracted from the people around me, or distracted with my time with God because I am thinking of my personal to-do list and how to get the next thing done. I am striving for more and more, better and better. Yet the Bible says "Better one handful with tranquility than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind."Ecclesiastes 4:6.
"For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?" Matthew 16:26
I think often, many people are finding that it is not well with their soul. And yet instead of taking the time to fix the problem, they surround themselves with distractions, and disillusionments, and jobs, and the next achievement-- all the while distancing themselves from their hearts' true desires: knowing God and being filled by loving relationships. Many are choosing escapism- instead of soul digging- instead of fighting in the battle for life and peace, we are giving in to captivity.
In Proverbs 4: 7 it says "The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding... She will give you a garland to grace your head and present you with a glorious crown." "And above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it." Proverbs 4:23
I think while we are on this earth, the struggle to accomplish, strive, do more, or hurry might always be there. But we have to acknowledge although the world may try to show us this is the best way to live, God gives us wisdom that tells us otherwise and He offers us a better way of living. The way of following God brings peace and rest to the soul and heart. God is the one who protects our hearts, and He wants us to rest in Him. To abide in Him, with faith and peace. And I don't know about you, but even if this is more difficult, this is the way I want to choose to live.