So one of the challenges that I want to do as I transition to 40 is read 40 books. Books that will challenge me, form my worldview. Some of the books can be rereads but I want most of them to be new. The one that I read most recently is Seven by Jen Hatmaker. In this book the author gives up, simplifies drastically seven things in her life over approximately seven months. These were drastic fasts: seven foods for a month, seven articles of clothing for a month, a month of no media, a month of remembering the Sabbath and other spiritual disciplines, a month of only seven stores, amounts of environmental care. She trimmed the excess of life, lived radically so that she could make room for God to move. She took out the weeds, started tilling the soil and waited for the best of God's plan to come.
I had been thinking of commemorating my 40th with some challenges and this book confirmed that I should at least try. There is so much excess in my life. In my 20s I was living a somewhat radical life - serving in the middle of nowhere as a teacher, stepping out in faith that what I did made a difference. Then in my early 30s, I was burnt out, embittered, jaded and moved to civilization to heal. I gave up some of my passion, started pursuing other things, thinking that my time of normality was a phase. But now I seem stuck in this phase. I no longer live and act radically. I am more interested in protecting my own than stepping out in faith. The matter has become more complicated as I am now married, have a child, have more to protect, have someone that needs to agree with any crazy scheme I might think of. It is more difficult to step out in faith now when I have pledged to not walk alone through this life any more, when I have yoked myself with someone else. (I am not dissing my husband here but stating the reality of marriage)
Forty is a good time to reevaluate. After all it has significance in scripture as a time of testing and trial that in the end resulted in some pretty good things. For example Noah spent 40 days and 40 nights on the ark and gave birth to, well all human kind, all nations. The Isrealites spent 40 years wandering in the desert, as part of a refining process due to their disobedience and lack of faith, and gave birth to a nation. Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness before stepping into ministry and gave birth to a revolution. All of these times of testing resulted in changes that reverberate through history even to today's times.
So what will my 40th bring. What kind of passion can be birthed into my soul spirit? What kind of action can I take that will have eternal consequences? What type of things can I give up so that I can make more room for Jesus's work? Let the adventure begin.