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Q+A: Why Letting the Dishes Go Can Save Your Soul

In her latest book, Shauna Niequist trades “competition, comparison, and exhaustion for meaning, connection, and unconditional love."
Q+A: Why Letting the Dishes Go Can Save Your Soul
Image: Sarah Carter

Almost ten years ago, Shauna Niequist published Cold Tangerines, a tender, transparent book about “the extraordinary moments hidden in our everyday lives.” In her latest book, Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living (Zondervan), Niequist finds herself wiped out, overworked, and fighting to regain long-lost tranquility. “This book is an account of my winding, messy journey from exhaustion to peace, from isolation to connection, from hustling and multitasking to sacred presence,” writes Niequist.

I talked recently with Niequist about “fake resting,” practicing the Sabbath (for real), and how as a teenager her parents freed her from being “the perfect pastor’s kid.” Half an hour into the phone interview, Niequist’s son came running through the door crying after a hard day at school, and she respectfully bowed out of our conversation to tend to his needs. Which is to say, she puts the people in her life before her public image.

This book is her invitation “into that same journey” of reprioritization. “It has been the greatest, most rewarding change of my adult life,” says Niequist.

What was going on in your life when you realized something was wrong?

I was in my mid-30s, and doing a lot of traveling and speaking. I was sprinting through my days. I was exhausted all the time. I was sick and not paying attention to the fact that I was sick. I just kept going ...

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