Purposes of Non-Productivity

When did production become the touchstone of our worth?

The concept of “being” as opposed to “doing” fascinates, and yet frustrates, me. As a person of faith, I believe that Jesus’s sacrifice for me enables acceptance apart from my performance.

I also get the concept of moving beyond sitting back and doing nothing to actively searching for tasks that just might have eternal value.

Yet I’m an earth dweller, and with this reality comes the cultural pull to measure my worth by what I produce:

  • Did I blog enough this week?
  • How many books did I sell?
  • Did I inspire and help every student in all of my classes?
  • Why has it been so long since I painted?
  • When am I going to get that shed cleaned out?
  • I haven’t exercised in two weeks. How could I have let that slip?
  • I really should be better at meal planning, grocery shopping, and cooking.
  • My art room workspace is inundated with junk mail again. How could I have abandoned my creativity?

This pressure to perform definitely affects my career and personal goals. As an educator, I live with the constant stress of trying to teach my reluctant middle school readers to excel at literacy, test-taking, and 21st Century skills.

As a writer, I struggle to market my existing book and to push other manuscript projects forward. Yet these challenges nowhere rival the struggle I have to rise and write every morning, in spite of the demands of the day.

As an artist, I feel better about myself when I create. Yet when career demands swell, my art room lays still. I pass by the room on my way from the garage and sigh. Boy do I wish I had the hutzpah to finish that painting of my nephew. READ THE ENTIRE POST…

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