Sat | May 25, 2019

New book for women seeks '40' Agreements on Becoming 40

Published:Sunday | November 4, 2018 | 12:00 AM

The new inspirational e-book 40 Agreements on Becoming 40 has been released by author and publisher Shelly-Ann Harris.

The first instalment in her Self-talk Series, the new e-book sees Harris reflecting on her own life experiences, identifying and embracing key lessons she has learnt over the past 40 years.

The short, easy-to-read text, published on on October 29, provides insightful advice on relatable issues such as acceptance, confidence, faith, beauty, relationships, and more.

Explaining part of the motivation for the e-book, Harris said, "I believe that it is important to 'self-talk' in order to encourage yourself and curate the wisdom and knowledge that God has so carefully weaved through each of our lives."

She hopes that these 40 agreements will help other women of faith to reflect and live their best life".

Below are three agreements included in the e-book:

1 The number 40 is said to be a sort of probation period; a period of testing or preparation. The number seems to have a type of magic, not in and of itself, but rather because it spans a divine period for achieving a phase of development.

In the Holy Scriptures, 40 is clearly significant - Moses spent 40 years in the desert being prepared for the life-altering mission of negotiating with a tyrant and leading a people out of slavery; the Lord Jesus was led by the Spirit of God to be tempted for 40 days in the wilderness before He began His world-changing ministry.

After His resurrection, the Lord Jesus spent another 40 days pouring into His disciples and followers, effectively deputising them for a worldwide mission before His ascension. Agree that the last 40 years of your life was your training and preparation for a new phase of development! Step forward. Possess the land. How do you do that? You stop second guessing yourself and start taking decisive action.

2 Over the years, there were some things that you tried to do that failed. You pushed. You believed. You sold your car to get the money to invest. You had faith, but it still failed. Don't get agitated. It was part of the learning. Part of the wilderness.

Unshackle yourself from disappointment and move forward. Realise and accept that faith can only be placed in what God whispered to you or in His written word. Faith placed in your noble desires or a feeling in your gut is not guaranteed to bear fruit.

Always sift your desires by bringing them before the Lord and let Him order your steps. God is faithful. Remember the disciples in Acts 16 who wanted to go to a particular country to minister the gospel but were prevented by the Spirit of God? It was no doubt a good desire but not God's will in that moment. Recognise when God is saying no and yield. It will save you a lot of heartache (and cars) going forward!

3 Whether you think you are skinny, fat, fit, overweight, boasting glowing, beautifully exfoliated skin or battling acne and chin hairs, accept the blessing of reaching this ultra age. 40 is ultra because you have learnt some lessons firsthand which now inform and shape your own upstream world view.

Accept this blessing of growing up while still having the mirth of youth. When you were nine years old, you thought 30+ was old! You couldn't have been more wrong! Recognise that over time your perspective has changed and that you are indeed blessed to see this wonderful nexus age!

Harris runs a production and publishing firm, Breadknife Productions, and is a media and communication adviser. She is the president and founder of Family and Faith Magazine and is also the author of children's book We Don't Hate Mondays Anymore (2015) and a poetry collection titled The Goodies on Her Tray (2014).