40 Days to a New You

We talked about the significance of the number 40 throughout the Bible yesterday in Sunday School: Jesus fasted in the wilderness for 40 days, the Israelites wandered for 40 years, it rained for 40 days and nights, etc.*

All of these 40-something time periods, whether days are years, were periods of testing that ended in periods of restoration, revival and renewal. Aren’t those great words? Restoration. Revival. Renewal.

Today, I am setting my own goals for some much needed self-improvement because for about the last month, I’ve felt excessively disorganized. I think it’s important to have a set time-period for goals like this, so that’s why I’m going with the biblical 40 days. And to make sure we’re on this same page, this has NOTHING to do with Josh Hartnett’s movie about celibacy. He is not my inspiration. Just wanted to clear that up.**

I did a quick search on the internet for “40 days” and turns out, there were a lot of links for similar campaigns. I didn’t read any of them, though and picked my own little categories for improvement.

Organization. On this one, I will be enlisting a little time with my fabulous Auntie N again to help with finishing this (she’s already helped immensely with my closet, the hall closet and under-the-bed storage). Of course, she can’t help organize my cluttered head so we won’t even attempt to tackle that one.

Health. This is an on-going goal, but I’m going to put together a specific program based on a nifty little book I checked out from the library: The New Rules of Lifting for Women: Lift Like a Man, Look Like a Goddess. Sounds pretty sweet, right? Seriously.

Spiritual. I always need to improve on the little things like daily prayer and scripture study, plus a little more temple attendance. Do I have a radiant glow yet? This should be different than my lack of tan.

Sleep. Yes, this could be related to health, but I’m separating it because I always struggle with it. I remember, in college, going in to meet with Louise to help me get off of academic probation. She looked at my goals (which included new bedtime hours and times to wake up) and said, “Come on, seriously?” We readjusted those goals so I wasn’t trying to conquer the world by running straight up the mountain and guess what happened? You’re darn right… I graduated from college.

Work. Sometimes, I just go to work because I need to pay the bills, but I think it’s time I set some goals to make sure that I continue to improve at my job. If I write it down, I might actually do it, too, instead of just twittering about some attempt to learn C# over Memorial Day weekend (yeah, totally didn’t do that AT ALL).

Diet. No. I will not diet. I don’t have the will power. But, I will start bringing my lunch to work. Mmmm, PB&J for 40 days! Delish.

Thanks. I haven’t sent out a thank you card for a while. People do a lot to help me out (especially with the current sickness of my car) and I owe them lots of thanks. As a bonus, gratitude is a mightily positive emotion and who doesn’t want more of that to balance out the negatives? Also, I’ve read that writing in a gratitude journal can have a positive effect. I really need another journal.

So here I go, starting my 40-day transformation. I haven’t come up with a clever name for it, though. 40 Days to a New Larrie? Revive Me in 40? Larrie 2.0 in 40 Days?


*All of the instances (I could find) of 40 in the Bible:
1. Rained for 40 days and 40 nights (Gen 7:12).
2. Noah waited 40 days after it rained before he opened a window in the ark (Gen 8:6).
3. Embalming required 40 days (Gen 50:3).
4. Moses was on the mountain with God for 40 days (2x: Exo 24:18, Exo 34:28-29).
5. Spies searched for 40 days to find promised land (Num 13:25).
6. Israelites wandered for 40 years (Exo 16:35, Num 14:33-34).
7. Forty stripes given to wicked men (Deut 25:3).
8. Israel in Philistine bondage for 40 years (Judges 13:1).
9. Goliath came for 40 days before David killed him (1 Sam 17:16).
10. David reigned forty years (2 Sam 5:4).
11. Solomon reigned forty years (11:42).
12. Elijah went to Horeb for 40 days/nights (1 Kings 19:8).
13. Egypt was uninhabited for forty years (Ezek 29:11-13).
14. Jonah warned the City of Ninevah they had 40 days to repent (Jonah 3:4).
15. Jesus fasted for 40 days in the wilderness (Matt 4:1-2).
16. Jesus was on the earth 40 days after his crucifixion (Acts 1:3).
17. Paul received forty stripes five times for Christ (2 Corinth 11:24).

**Also, I know that in a way, I’m just copying the idea of Lent. I’m totally okay with that.

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6 comments

  1. I’m in. I need a 40 days to a new you. Only (and make fun of me if you will) I’m going to have to wait for the weekend to sit down and plan. Working two jobs and trying to launch a thesis don’t leave a lot of time for fun things like self-improvement.

    *sigh*

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  2. you go girl. i need to join you in your 40 day upgrade… we shall see. when does yours start?

    and, i find it fascinating to read your “40 instances” in the bible. wanna know why it’s fascinating? because sometimes you typed out the word forty, and other times you just typed the number 40. I’ve been looking for a pattern for the last three minutes to decide if you did it in some sort of method, or if it was just random. Mostly, it seems random. I noticed that you used 40, the number, when you referred to days, but you mostly used forty, the word, when you talked about years or stripes. Except then you went and messed up my theory with number 6 and 8. So, I don’t really know if there was anything intentional about it, but I just thought I’d let you know that you’ve given me a little mystery and I worked really hard for several minutes trying to solve it.

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  3. @katie – that’s cool that you blogged about doing this, too… we can check up on each other and maybe even have a little celebration when we finish (I’m planning on starting next Monday)

    @clancy – ha, you were trying to figure out when I used 40/forty. funny thing about that is when I first started typing it up, I was keeping to what I learned in journalism: #s over ten should be typed as numbers unless they’re the first word in the sentence (see #6). but, I clearly forgot when I found 10, 11 and 17 after I’d finished the list and went back to add them (in order by book of scripture, of course). so there you have it: why I used forty vs 40.

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  4. and let’s not forget number 13!!!! Ha haa!!! That’s funny that you were doing it consciously and then forgot. I’m not surprised because you seem the type, like me, to notice such things. You rule.

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  5. Thank you for this wonderful post, personally, i think that we all need to build our own self improvement program, first decide what we want, then set up a goals, even for a smallest thing, and go for it.

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