For my birthday I received a copy of Shauna Niequist’s book Present over Perfect.
I have read a couple of her other books or should say, I started to read them but ended up skimming through them after a while because…so many books…so little time.
This one, however caught me right from the start.
It spoke to something within me. A story of familiar struggles expressed in someone else’s language has a way of making us feel less alone and more understood.
It’s probably not for everyone, but here is a quote that made me nod my head vigorously, underline and write “Yep” in the margin several times….
“I’ve always had what I call a crazy brain- a mind that runs and spins, that remembers obscure details and whirs in the middle of the night. …it also runs ahead of me quite often, catastrophizing, over-analyzing, spinning out. As my patron saint Anne Lamott says, my mind is a bad neighborhood. I’m not a potter or a dancer – my mind is my only tool, and at the same time, it’s my greatest challenge, an overeager puppy, a spinning hamster wheel.” pg 67
I totally get that.
The body of the book is about how she has had to learn to stop striving and achieving and instead be “present” with God – resting more, trusting more, fellowshipping more.
It is interesting to me that, as the daughter of Bill Hybels, she still grew up and lived much of her adult life with a misconception of God as keeping some score card on her.
She talks about how, because she had a mixed up view of God, based on her own personal understandings, she viewed Scripture in a skewed way for many years.
She consistently states that this was not because she was raised to believe such a lie, but that the way she is wired geared her to that pitfall.
Bill Hybels. Founder and lead pastor of Willow Creek Church and kind of the name we associate with the whole ‘seeker friendly’ wave in ministry around this area of the country at least.
And his daughter had to figure out that God loves her and just wants to spend time with her and have a relationship with her that she can’t earn.
There’s a lesson there for our evangelism efforts.
I think how easily we can fall into the trap of trying to adapt the Gospel to make it understandable to everyone instead of just simply sharing the Gospel and then trusting God through the Holy Spirit to allow each person to work through the process of their sanctification with Him.
I see a tendency in the general world of Church to feel we have failed in the message when someone like Shauna misses the point.
So we change the packaging and presentation so that we can help those like her to “get it”.
But it was through trial and error, through wearing herself out striving and almost losing her primary relationships that God finally broke through to her heart.
We don’t have to market the Gospel.
We simply share it with our words and our lives…sincere, sometimes inept, flawed, progressing slowly along the journey in our ways….
and God brings the harvest <3