If we live to please God alone, we set ourselves free from the cares and worries that press in on us. So many of my own cares trace back to concern over other people:whether I measure up to their expectations, whether they fine me desirable. Living for God alone involves radical reorientation, a stripping away of anything that might lure me from the primary goal of pleasing God, far more than pleasing me.
I know a hand surgeon who specialises in reattaching fingers that have been partially or totally severed in accidents…Once my friend got an emergency call at three o’clock in the morning and could hardly face the prospect of beginning such an arduous procedure. In order to add incentive and focus, he decided to dedicate the surgery to his father who had recently died. For the next few hours, he imagined his father standing beside him, his hand on his shoulder offering encouragement.
The technique worked so well that he began dedicating his surgeries to people he knew. He would call them, often awakening them, and say, “I have a very demanding procedure ahead of me, and I’d like to dedicate the surgery to you. If I think about you while I’m performing it, that will help me get through.”…then it dawned on him: should not he offer his life to God in the same way? The details of what he did each day-answering phone calls, hiring staff, reading medical journals, meeting with patients, scheduling surgeries-changed little, yet somehow the awareness of living for God gradually coloured each of these mundane tasks. He found himself treating nurses with more care and respect, spending more time with patients, worrying less about finances.