When it comes to fitness there’s this thing called the 4-8-12 rule. When you first begin to workout and eat healthier it will take 4 weeks before you notice any changes to your own body, 8 weeks before your close friends and family notice, and 12 weeks for the rest of the world to notice.
It’s pretty accurate. I’ve received comments as recently as this week from people who don’t see me often, noting differences – things I’ve been noticing for weeks. And at the beginning it was frustrating, because I wanted instant results and even quicker affirmation from others that what I was doing was working. But like anything that is worth doing, it took time, more time than I wanted.
But along with the waiting came the realization that I needed to find motivation to keep going outside of what others were noticing. I couldn’t rely on what my own eyes were seeing to believe that it was worth it, and waiting for someone else to affirm my actions wasn’t going to get me out of the bed in the morning to put on my sneakers. Instead, I chose to believe that healthy was important. Strong was important. More energy for my family was important.
Now, when those comments come in? I hear them, and I appreciate them. But they’re not my “why.”
Shouldn’t I do the same when it comes to my “thing”? When it comes to the words I write or the passion God has put on my heart to speak, or the creative ideas He gives me, why do I expect instant results? If I truly believe blogging, writing, speaking, and creating are worth doing – why do I put all my motivation into the reactions and invitations of others?
I wonder if the 4-8-12 rule might work for creatives as well? What if it took four weeks of writing consistently about the message God has given you for you to see how to refine it for His glory? And then in eight weeks, close friends and regular readers begin to pick up on the heart of your message and share it? In 12 weeks others begin to take notice, and God opens doors for you to share it in new and unexpected ways?
Because at that point? You’ll have determined your “why” and it won’t be because of numbers, fame, recognition, or invitation. When all of those fade, or never happen, you’ll be left with the motivation to keep doing what you’re doing, to chase the dream, to write the words or speak the message because it’s gone from God’s heart for you to your heart to give it back to God.
Don’t give up. Lean into the hard and unseen places, and keep getting up every day to lace up your shoes, sit at the computer, open the notebook, create. While it might take weeks, months, or years for others to notice, from the very first minute of the very first day, God sees. He knows. And He won’t waste a second of the work you do to honor Him.
Marie Gregg says
This brought tears to my eyes. I’m not really sure why. Apparently there are things I need to ponder, things that you speak to so well in this piece. Thank you for the encouragement, dear lady.
Stephen Jones says
Thanks for the words of encouragement. It has brightened my day.
I am always encouraged by your words. Thank you for being that cheerleader we all need to do our God-thing.
Great post! So many parallels, really… Just as with our health and fitness goals, we find ourselves dealing with unexpected life issues, complications, things that threaten (and do in fact) derail us — for a season. We may have to start over more than once… and make adjustments for the changes that have taken place since last time. Changes in us — or in the world around us. My creative goals, my hopes and dreams for my career / ministry are very different now than when I first got started as a freelance writer twenty years ago 🙂 I’m still learning, still leaning, still discovering new things, and still figuring out how to “lace up my shoes every day.” Thanks for the encouragement!
I see the difference in your writing. You are creating beautiful things, Crystal, and I am excited to see where God takes you. Thank you for the reminder to keep going. I need that reminder, and I had never heard of the 4-8-12 rule.