When I was in school, getting A's was very important to me. Getting A's was so important that I was stressed out all the time. I felt like I had to get A's in order to get a good job. I thought if I didn't get a good job, everything would be a disaster. The ironic part of the story is that I used my A's to get a job at a top accounting firm... and then I was pretty miserable.
I was clinging so tightly to the result of getting a "good job" that I never evaluated what that really meant. I felt like I was in control of the end result and had to make sure it happened. I was stressed out getting there and stressed out when I arrived. But even after I realized that the stress was suffocating me, I didn't know how to stay motivated to work without stressing out about the results. How can you work toward a goal and not really need it to happen? If you don't care about the end result, how do you get yourself to try?
Then about 5 years ago, I learned something revolutionary from reading George Mueller's diary. (In 1834, George Mueller started a house for orphans and ran it until the day of his death without a job for income and without ever asking anyone for money.) On November 25, 1934 he wrote -
"There are several reasons why I desire to establish an orphan house. One of the things the children of God need most is to have their faith strengthened. I visited a brother who worked fourteen to sixteen hours a day at his trade. His body ached, his soul was lean, and he had no joy in God. I pointed out to him that he should work less in order that his health might not suffer...He replied, 'But if I work less, I do not earn enough for the support of my family. Even now, while I work so much, I have scarcely enough.'...I explained to him, 'My dear brother, it is not your work which supports your family, but the Lord. He has fed you and your family when you could not work at all because of illness. He would surely provide for you and yours, if, for the sake of the inner man, you worked fewer hours a day to give you proper time for rest.'...I longed to have something to give the brother as a visible proof that our God and Father is the same faithful God that he ever was. He is willing as ever to prove Himself the living God to all who put their trust in him...This is the primary reason for establishing the orphan house."
And there it was. I had never separated the work from the result. I do the work. God creates the results. So simple, yet it changed my life.
"May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us - yes, establish the work of our hands." Psalm 91:17