An example of holy reading, lectio divina, on Scripture, Psalm 104. It illustrates my meditation and listening early one morning as I readied myself spiritually for the tasks before me that day:
The psalm is a meditation on the goodness of God's creation and praise for God's gracious administration. God sets up the conditions, the environment, but doesn't control us.
How can I follow God's lead as an administrator? I often struggle with the I experience people's performance, their own self-management. I feel responsible for what they do, and can get trapped by my own over-functioning, which is an effort to increase their performance.
Scripture shows me that God may grieve human performance, a person's failure to live into the goodness God has set up for us, offered us. But God never controls us. God gets angry, even demanding (Hosea 11), but backs off again and again, realizing that anger goes against God's own virtues.
Like God---as a servant of God---I can step up the conditions for people to live and work, but I cannot make them perform; in fact, I must not. The genius of human life is that people can find ways of performing that are astonishing---just as they can be immensely disappointing.
This is the splendor of freedom.
Each individual must be given freedom if we are to see their brilliance. Freedom is a risk. You may guide, pray, even sometimes urge, but beware of your own needs and attachments to outcomes. Attached to such things, you will become a tyrant.
So, give them bread (104.15); provide them with water (104.10). Set up the boundaries (104.9). But remember, you cannot make them eat or keep them from wandering.
Your delight is in giving them what they most need---love. What they do with these things is ultimately their business, not yours.
from my journals, October 6, 2007