Present Over Perfect book club: embrace less

Present over Perfect bookclub

Oh my goodness, Shauna, Part 5 of this book, where do I start?

You write of the wrestle with people-pleasing and I nod my head.

You write of learning to have fun and play again, instead of living in constant hustle, and I utter a heart-felt, ‘Me too’.

You write of rest, and simplicity, and wrestling with the body God gave you. And each essay resounds in my soul.

You write of being who you were created to be and I breathe a deep sigh of recognition.

As a mumma of two there are days when I do the hard yards. I live minute by minute, second by second, I survive.

But I no longer want to survive my life, I want to thrive.

What you have touched on Shauna is that to thrive, (to live a life of intention, and calling, and deep soul-satisfaction), I have to accept that less is more.

Less listening to the opinion of others, more listening to the quiet voice of my God.

Less hustle and more play.

Less busy and more rest.

Less stuff and more simplicity.

Less criticism of my body and more acceptance.

Less striving and more being.

Sometimes we have to clear the clutter placed on us by others and really focus on the core of ourselves.

Clear the clutter of other people’s voices, of other people’s expectations, or even of comparing ourselves with other people’s creative giftings.

I have let the words, efficient and responsible, govern too many of my seasons. I have prided myself on being seen as that person.

But there is a danger there. These words lead to a focus on people-pleasing and meeting expectations of others. And the ultimate result is exhaustion and a deep-seated frustration.

So for my current season, I am choosing words like space, grace, pause, listen, and be.

I am choosing to embrace less.

Thank you, Shauna, for articulating so well this inner wrestle for survival, and instead showing us a way to thrive.


Book club discussion question:

What are the words defining your season right now? If they are not what you would choose for yourself, what do you want them to be? 

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11 thoughts on “Present Over Perfect book club: embrace less

  1. Great, Jodie. Less is often more in so many areas of life. It’s such a great chapter!

    Less listening to the opinion of others, more listening to the quiet voice of my God.

    Less hustle and more play.

    Less busy and more rest.

    Less stuff and more simplicity.

    Less criticism of my body and more acceptance.

    Less striving and more being.

  2. I needed to read this today. Every line was like water to my soul.


    The word I chose for my season was strength. And I feel the weakest I have ever been in a long time. So pressing in. Trusting and hoping for that peace to realign again.

    1. Oh goodness Amanda, praying for you as you rest and reframe.

      I love that word ‘strength’. And I believe that an often unnoticed way to show strength is to say, ‘I’m feeling weak, I need help’.

      Peace be with you

  3. The word for my season is ‘savour’. I want to take the time to savour and enjoy the moments.

  4. Hello!

    My word for the year is supposed to be ‘wholehearted’….it’s a lovely word for one thing, it sounds so nice and to do something with your whole heart is such an incredible, focused, dedicated way to do it. But it is not easy. To be whole hearted implies shedding clutter (as Jodie writes above and as Shauna writes in the book) because we simply don’t (or certainly I don’t) have the capacity to do all of the things that I feel demanded on to do in a wholehearted way. I either need to dismiss some of them or be content with NOT doing them wholeheartedly. It’s really, really hard for me to imagine making the time, all of the time, to be as wholehearted as I desire to be without causing great hurt to people because of the things I would shed. And I struggle with that.

    An interesting twist though….I was away when we began the book club and I was well advanced on my PoP reading…then I returned and I am now behind…BUT I had an incredible week at home. A busy week for sure, but a lovely week. Some good times as a family before my husband went away and some delicious time with my daughter on our own and it was, as much as the “real Sandie” can be, a wholehearted time.

    I’m in a hotel again now after a crazy early morning departure and 3 hours sleep in my bed and some kind of semi-sleep curled up in a precarious position on the plane. I’m conflicted…I read Jodie’s words above, and the other comments and I say, “yes!”…but then I scrolled through Instagram and I saw things like this, “To believe in something, and not live it is dishonest.” Mahatma Gandhi….or “…The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” Theodore Roosevelt.

    You probably saw these too because they were shared on feeds you are familiar with (thank you @kinwomen and @amandaviviers). I want to be convinced that the two concepts; simplicity and clarity versus striving with all that is in you for something you believe in, are not mutually exclusive but it’s not easy to give something your all without getting a bit exhausted and a bit broken along the way…..

    … you see the struggle?

    1. Oh I totally understand that struggle Sandie and I love your word for this year. It is a very big word, but such a good one. In the end the only way I can figure out the tension between “simplicity and clarity versus striving with all that is in you for something you believe in” is the idea that it is all a process.

      I take on things in life that are okay (and indeed good) for a season, but continue to hold onto them when I have moved on from that season. I need to stop and re-clarify and declutter our lives from time to time.

      I don’t believe it is a one off thing. I believe, like the rest of life, it changes with our seasons and circumstances. We need to start small, and slowly with what we can handle at the time. And sometimes we will get things wrong and swing too far into simplicity, or too far into striving to accomplish a dream. And that’s okay. We just need to recalibrate and reset.

      As Shauna says in the essay ‘Happy Medium”, sometimes our perfectionism trips us up in this area too. We get frustrated at how slowly we are learning new rhythms.

      (And a little side note – I love your comments because as I write back I am speaking to myself – thanks xx)

  5. I didn’t actually have a word before I read the blog but I do now 
    It’s ‘breathe’. It is the simplest thing I can do and probably the only thing really required of me. If things aren’t great, just breathe. If I need grace, just breathe. If I need more alone time, just breathe. If I need to do more or need to do less, just breathe. Do what I can do – breathe.

  6. Ah there we go. That word ‘pause’. Yes. I am reading with you. Thank you for sharing your thoughts Jodie. It is helpful to walk this path in community. Asta x

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