{Present Over Perfect & The Five-Minute Journal}

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

The goodness of 2017 has taken me a bit by surprise. I know it's only March but this year has already been marked by more clarity, rest, and peace than in years past. It's been a time of wonderful insight, genuine reflection, and intentional restoration. It's also been a year of slowing down and re-claiming parts of myself that I had lost over the years. This has centered me more than I ever imagined it could.

For the better part of a decade I've tried to live simply, valuing experiences over things while trying to keep my gratitude above my expectations. This way of living has led to a blessed life and I don't take a day of it for granted. That said, I began the year aware I was missing many of the things I valued most. The self imposed pace I allowed myself to function at was robbing me of the joy and peace that comes from self-awareness. I was enslaved to business and my tank was empty.


In February I started resting-- really resting, not the "fake resting" that Shauna Niequist so accurately describes in her book, Present Over Perfect. I stopped multi-tasking as much and started saying "no" to things that weren't adding value to my family. I started saying "yes" to going to bed earlier so I could wake up rested for a 5am workout. I started reading more and watching less Netflix, already having finishing more books this year than I did in 2016-- and it's been liberating. I started journaling again each day which has helped reclaim part of my twenty-year-old novel writing self that I lost somewhere in my first few years of marriage. All of these intentional choices have led to a greater self awareness resulting in more peace and gratitude. Change is slowly happening and it's not been because of anything I've done, but because I know there's more room for the Spirit to work in my heart.

I share all of this because I know there might be some of you who are operating at an unsustainable pace like I was. If so, I'd encourage you to make time to read Present Over Perfect and start The Five Minute Journal. Both have impacted me greatly and I believe will help re-center your soul. I know this isn't a magic solution to the craziness that life sometimes finds us in or the be-all-end-all, but I can say from experience that it's gently pushed me back towards the Lord and the things I value most.

Happy March 1st errrrbody. It's gonna be a great month!!! 

12 comments:

Josh and Haley said...

Oh, please be careful with self help books. We, as Christians, must realize that our help and our hope comes from Jesus alone. I've also read that the church this author is associated with is well known for false doctrine and false teaching. Just didn't know if you've heard that. <3 So glad you are making intentional choices for yourself and your family - its so hard to do - but I try to remember the adage, "God first, others next, me third". Just to keep me open and listening for the decisions and choices that God wants me to make.<3

Elizabeth said...

Loved this post--thanks for the encouragement! I have also recently gotten back into journaling and really enjoying how it helps me grow and be grateful. I read Shauna's book as well, and enjoyed it. I also read Jen Hatmaker's book For the Love--if you haven't read that one I would totally recommend it--so good! Here's to an intentional and slow 2017!

Anonymous said...

Loved today's post, Emily! I have been reading more this year as well and find it so refreshing. I cancelled my Netflix subscription at the end of January and also deleted my Facebook account. Not saying that everyone should do that but for me it was very liberating. Getting rid of more and more distractions in my life allows me to be aware of His presence in so many more ways. Present over Perfect is also on my reading list for 2017 and I'm very much looking forward it!

Heather Counsellor said...

We have been going through this as well. I called 2016 the year of unsettling. Changing how I do things for a better, more intentional life. I highly recommend The Sacred Year by Michael Yankoski. Really good book that follows older spiritual practices that are so applicable today. I too have really felt the benefits of living more simply and with intention and finding my faith as well as closeness to Him increasing the more I live this way. Thanks for sharing.

Katy said...

I wholeheartedly agree Em! I disconnected from social media in January and made a vow to myself to slow down, live more in the moment, read more, write more and reflect more. It has been incredible to take a step back, fill my lungs with fresh air and face life with a new perspective! Cheers to new, good things!

Katy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Caitlin said...

Loved this post & needed the reminder to slow down. Even when living a slow life, it's so easy to get caught up in the frantic nature of mainstream life and find yourself spinning. I've noticed lately that I've lost bits of myself since being in a serious relationship and now marriage. My interests were replaced with thoughts of making sure to be a good spouse, keep a clean house, make nutritious food from scratch, take care of the animals, etc. But at the end of the day, there's little time left for me. I, too, miss writing & your post inspired me to start taking that bit back. After all, who doesn't have 5 minutes a day for writing? :) Thanks, Emily!

dede said...

"The days that I keep my gratitude higher than my expectations, those are really good days". ~ray wylie hubbard
i agree.
be blessed.

Anonymous said...

Hello and thank you for sharing this. I sometimes miss the 'thinking about life, family, etc.' posts, so thank you for sharing this and a part of your outlook on life!
Katharina

Joy said...

This is so inspiring and encouraging! I really enjoyed Present Over Perfect but I almost want to read it again now that I've recently made the transition to working-away-from-home mom after being a stay at home mom with my baby for 14 months...yikes!

Super interested in the 5-minute journal...have you heard of one-line journals? Gretchen Rubin recommends using them while going through times of transition, so I've been doing that as I've started my job...but I always write more than one line so it's probably more like a 5 minute journal anyway. :)

Sara Fachetti said...

I love both of those so much!!!! The book and the journal. I use the app now, and I'm so grateful for it. I always love finding other people that value rest and self-connection as much as I do! :) Cheers to you, I'm so happy that this is happening.

Sadie said...

I love this! Finished Present over Perfect and it was a great investment of time - I think you're right. Rest doesn't come specifically from time boundaries or whatnot but from making space for the Spirit to work.

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