Daring to Break Up with Productivity
By Emily Sue Allen
God's Brave Women - Emily's Story
I haven’t updated my resume in over fifteen years. I’m sure it still reads something like, “Self-motivated, high-achieving college graduate seeking employment in a rewarding customer service role,” with a snappy list of my mastered skills and relevant work experience. Things were simpler then. It was a time when finding satisfaction in life hinged on receiving a regular paycheck, which spoke to my longing for validation and supplied me with a sense of purpose, not to mention the means to pay bills. With a job and the evidence of a productive life, I didn’t have to pay much attention to the aches hiding under the surface of my soul.
Set goals, make lists, get to work, stay up late—a thrilling, but not terribly sustainable way to live for years on end. I thought the pursuit of productivity was a noble, admirable thing. I’ve believed responsible people get lots of things done, and bearing fruit in my life hinges on the ability to get more out of a day than most others, even if it means pushing myself to—or beyond—my limits. I’ve been in search of the perfect recipe to keep all the spinning plates in the air and not result in a crash and burn every few months.
"I’ve believed responsible people get lots of things done, and bearing fruit in my life hinges on the ability to get more out of a day than most others, even if it means pushing myself to—or beyond—my limits."
Instead of working a job these past fifteen years, I’ve been square in the season of adding children to our family—seven of them—some planned, some delightful surprises. I have attempted to both give myself completely to mothering well—keeping all my kids alive, fed, and relatively happy through all the demands and challenges of life—and I have also tried to tend a creative life outside of mothering… you know, with all the extra time on my hands. I started an online community for moms and a podcast, and I have hustled toward the goal of one day being a published author. I’ve networked, engaged a variety of platform-building strategies on social media, and learned the nuts and bolts of establishing a sustainable writing habit in the midst of the unpredictable days of raising children.
I have feared missing opportunities. I’ve been tempted to hurry through, to strategize and organize my way to living my own versi