Recent Reads: Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist

What the book's about: Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living by Shauna Niequist is about learning to say "no". It's about "real over image, connecting over comparing, meaning over mania, depth over artifice." 

Why I read this book: I'm a big fan of Shauna's previous three books so of course, I had to read Present over Perfect. 

My favorite quotes from the book:

- "The very thing that makes you you, that makes you great, that makes you different from everyone else is also the thing that, unchecked, will ruin you." 

- "We were all raised to build, build, build. Bigger is better, more is better, faster is better. It had never occurred to us, in church-building or any other part of life, that someone would intentionally keep something small, or deliberately do something slow." 

- "If you're not careful with your yeses, you start to say no to some very important things without ever realizing it." 

- "I thought the doing and the busyness would keep me safe. They keep me numb. Which is not the same as safe, which isn't even the greatest thing to aspire to." 

- "Many of us who have found ourselves to be useful in Christian service have found ourselves unable, if we're honest, to connect with God any other way. We do for him, instead of being with him. We become soldiers, instead of brothers and sisters and daughters and sons." 

- "Sometimes brave looks more like staying when you want to leave, telling the truth when all you want to do is change the subject." 

- "Envy can be an extremely useful tool to demonstrate our desires, especially the ones we haven't yet allowed ourselves to feel." 

- "When we speak of regrets, this is my greatest one: that I allowed other people's visions for my career and calling to take me away from what I know in my heart was the best, most whole way to live." 

- "I'm not building a castle or a monument; I'm building a soul and a family." 

- "God's asking me to be the thing he's already created me to be." 

- "What powers our work when it's no longer about addiction to achievement?" 

Who I'd recommend this book for: Present Over Perfect is for anyone who feels like they're perpetually running the rat race and losing. It's a book for those who need to be challenged (or encouraged) to slow down and be present in their lives.  

Jen Bradbury on Youth Ministry

Jen serves as the director of youth ministry at Faith Lutheran Church in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. A veteran youth worker, Jen holds an MA in Youth Ministry Leadership from Huntington University. Jen is the author of The Jesus Gap: What Teens Actually Believe about Jesus (The Youth Cartel), The Real Jesus (The Youth Cartel), Unleashing the Hidden Potential of Your Student Leaders (Abingdon), and the forthcoming A Mission That Matters (Abingdon). Her writing has also appeared in YouthWorker Journal, Immerse, and The Christian Century. Jen is also the Assistant Director of Arbor Research Group where she has led many national studies. When not doing ministry or research, she and her husband, Doug, and daughter, Hope, can be found traveling and enjoying life together.

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Unleashing the Hidden Potential of your Student Leaders

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The Real Jesus

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The Jesus Gap

What Teens Actually Believe About Jesus

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