Shauna Niequist is the author of Cold Tangerines, Bittersweet, and Bread & Wine. Her new devotional, Savor: Living Abundantly Where You Are, As You Are (Zondervan, Mar.), combines daily inspirational readings with recipes.
This is your first devotional. Why include recipes?
I have always resisted doing a devotional, because I don’t think the fullness of spirituality happens when we’re sitting alone with a book. It happens around the table with people we love, telling stories, eating, praying, laughing. All of life is spiritual life.
What changed your mind about doing a devotional?
I had done various spiritual practices for different seasons of my life, but I got to the point where I felt I was doing it wrong. I was too busy, my attention was fractured, I was slamming through life. The last piece for me was making morning devotions a part of my routine, taking time first thing to pray, read scripture, meditate on God. It set a quality of peace and connectedness that would stay with me all day. That made me ready to do a devotional when my publisher approached me again.
The book is clearly designed for women. Putting aside any traditional expectations that they are the ones who prepare meals, what is it about this book that will particularly appeal to women?
I got a text from a male friend, telling me he read all 63 devotions and loved the book, but he wished it wasn’t just marketed to women. I write for people, not just women. And I would never say cooking is woman’s work. I grew up in a family where I was encouraged to do everything; it just so happens that I love cooking. There are places in the book where I write about miscarriage, infertility, the challenges of building a family [from a woman’s point of view], but that’s because that’s my experience, it’s a part of me. I would love to do something less gender specific.
Some of the material in Savor is adapted from your previous books. What will readers find here that is new?
There’s a fair amount of completely new content, but also the material from my previous books is organized differently. It’s in bite-sized chunks, with a scripture verse at the beginning and a question at the end for readers to think about. I hope these snippets will invite people to consider the sacred moments and divine invitations in their own lives.
What are you working on now?
I have a book coming in August 2016, Present Over Perfect. In the past couple of years I became increasingly addicted to busyness and efficiency, and my desire to be responsible and competent and get external approval was keeping me from connecting deeply to God, to my own inner voice, my family, the people I love most. The book will be about seeing ourselves in the mirror and working backward from where we are to find our best qualities. Being connected, being fully present, are higher aspirations.