Productivity is the driving force in my week. How productive was I? is the question that plagues me at the end of the day. With my best “spin,” I can say this is a stewardship question. I’m so careful to note (if only to myself) that I am earning the paycheck of a pastor. That might mean I don’t do very much at all, based on the rate at which many pastors are paid, but that is a different conversation all together. Productivity can be an idol. It has become one for me. To quote my good buddy JC (no, not Jesus Christ), John Calvin, “[human]’s nature, so to speak, is a perpetual factory of idols.” Productivity is the latest model in mine. It comes from a need to justify my own existence, my own expertise. It’s an ego trip for sure. It feels good when I can look at a to-do list with each item crossed off and say, “Look! I’ve earned my existence today.” There are some days with particularly full or difficult lists that I seriously want to take home and hang on the fridge next to my daughter’s recent finger-paintings. The pride of doing that stretches so far as to consider hanging it on the fridge next to my toddler’s artwork draws me out enough to see that maybe getting things done is not the end goal. Perhaps this to-do list obsession is a developmental step in discovering worth and value, just like messy finger-painting teaches one fine motor skills without being an end in itself. (Un)doing is the next step in the process. It starts with taking “productivity” off the end-goal list for my days off. Yes there are chores and errands and endless at-home projects, and they will get done. But the first goal is being. It stretches me to whatever horizon is next in this worth and value skill learning process. When I sit and undo, I imagine God has my picture on the heavenly refrigerator and says, “Atta girl.”

Elaine Dreeben


2 thoughts on “(Un)Do

  1. Pingback: (Un)Do | uncosynchro

  2. You nailed me but good in that one, although I’m on the flip side meaning my lack of productivity. Not just for the day or week, but what has my life produced? At least what has it produced that I can point to? And yet, people have told me of a difference I made enough times that I ought to let go and trust that I am working and “producing”. Still, I seek the idol of productivity (if not acclaim).


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