Updated: Nov 18, 2019
Every now and then, life throws us a challenge that is beyond the average requirements of our day-to-day existence, making us realise the limitations of our capacity and strength. We realise that the margin between our capacity and our responsibilities is frightfully small.
Welcome to Project 40, where you are invited to join me in preparing ourselves for the unexpected and yet inevitable challenges that life has to throw at us. This project was born after I experienced one of those challenges, which I described in Part 1 of this series. We were not made for a life of coping but of conquering. We were made to be those who have strength to walk into our own purposes, as well as the capacity to walk others into theirs.
Psalm 18 credits God not only with supplying supernatural strength and deliverance in times of hardship, but actually with preparing and training his people to step into seasons of war, equipped and strengthened for the fight.
Psalm 18:34 He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
Project 40 Plan
Project 40 is an intentional plan to reset healthy habits in all areas of our lives, so that we are well-trained beyond just the daily demands on us. In this blog series, I will explain to you how I have begun this season of resetting habits, what my vision is for my personal development, and how that is starting to outwork itself. The idea is not that you do what I am doing, but that you are inspired to start your own project, allowing God to train and develop your spirit, soul, mind and strength, so that you are fit to be called into service.
To start off with, I have a journal with four dividers/sections labelled Spirit, Soul, Mind and Strength. Each section starts with a vision that I have considered and defined with God's input, and written down. Then I have defined a plan for how I am going to work towards that vision, and then regularly, perhaps weekly at first and then monthly, I revisit the journal and make note in each section how I am going in my training for that area of my life.
My Spirit Life - The Vision
This is a portion of my personal vision for my spirit life, as written in my Project 40 journal:
My spirit is the 'God' part of me, birthed when He breathed new life into me, and sustained by His daily breath. My intention for this season of 'resetting healthy habits' is for my spirit to find freedom and to flourish; that the rest of me would not restrain or suppress my spirit, but that I would release my spirit to connect with God and to serve His purposes in my generation. I want my body, mind and soul to be healthy and to be well-prepared and submitted servants to be led by my spirit.
My goal for my spirit has two faces. On the one side I want my spirit to be enlarged through consistent and intimate communion with God's Spirit. I want to be 'one' with Him in a way that makes my spirit-life want to burst with irrepressible vitality and to overflow into my visible life. On the other side, the side that the world sees, I want my spirit to be released without restraint. I want my words, my actions and my physical countenance to be determined by the God-life in me. I want the God part of me to be the dominant part, the most visible, the most outstanding; increasingly the definition of who I am.
My Spirit Life - The Plan
I believe that because my spirit is the 'God' part of me, the health of my spirit is directly related to the degree to which I abide in Jesus, the vine. The spirit-life in me is nourished by the sap which flows from the vine to the beaches in the unseen veins - the hidden life. I need to ensure that those veins are open to maximum flow.
To achieve this, I need daily times devoted to God - times that are long enough and uninterrupted enough to result in actual communion with God. I wake up an hour before the children in our household, get out of bed and make tea - more to wake me up than for the actual tea! - and go and sit outside in my hanging chair wrapped in a blanket. I don't remain in bed, because that doesn't work for my brain, and I don't sit where my husband is having his own time, because that distracts me from full and unrestrained connection with God.
My Spirit Life - A Few Steps In
I started with reading the psalms, which give a great platform for connecting with God. I write daily in my prayer journal to keep track of the words and impressions I feel God is giving me, and to make sure that I have acted on yesterday's teaching from God.
This is an excerpt of my Project 40 journal when I was a month in:
For the whole month, during the term and busy-time as well, I have managed to get up early and have an hour alone with God, usually on our new verandah in my swinging chair. I'm loving it! I feel so much happier, more productive and more settled in my thoughts. Well, I am still very easily distracted - monkey mind and rabbit holes! - but there is a clearer thread to my thoughts. My goal was that my spirit would be enlarged and become the more distinct leader of my mind, body and soul. I am definitely growing in my daily-awareness of my spirit-thoughts, but would love to see more of that. I couldn't say whether the spirit-life inside of me is more visible to those around me... but I'm finding my mornings life-giving! I dread starting the day without it a lot more than I dread the early mornings.
Your Spirit Life - Challenge Accepted!
And now it's your turn. If this has been an area of your life that you've prioritised on and off, but you know could be stronger, why don't you give yourself the gift of self-discipline in this area and just go for it. Too many of us know the right thing to do, but don't buckle down and do it. Remember that God will not only supernaturally step in to help you, but will also very naturally coach you into strength. He is the One who trains us for battle, if we will give ourselves into His hands to be taught and discipled by Him. Why don't you start by employing the Spirit of God as your personal trainer, and task Him with strengthening your spirit. Then all you have to do, is be obedient to His voice!