So I asked these folks to share, "where are you experiencing perissos life right now?" And we talked about where we have it, where we don't, where we pretend to have it or pretend not to. And one theme in the conversation that really surprised me was this tendency many of us have to downplay or dilute our expression of perissos life so as not to make others "uncomfortable" or to avoid feeling different from them. It was fascinating to me that even when this sort life--this superabundant, superior, extravagant, beyond measure LIFE--is truly alive and resonating in us, we are tempted...okay, I am tempted...to not relax fully into it or abandon myself to it, and certainly not to express it in an unbridled way, a raw unfiltered emotional way, in front of other people. My friend Neo was there and commented that hiding our joy in this way is a normal social reaction. When one person gets an A on an exam, and learns that his friend got a D, he naturally tries to avoid telling the D-guy that he got an A. We don't want to seem to be boasting or to make others feel "one down" in their relationship with us.
And yet, it is this very abandonment to LIFE that draws the weary and the hungry and the willing to the Wellspring of Living Water within us! It's the LIFE within us, expressed through us, that invites them to drink deeply of His joy, His freedom, His life resonate and alive in us...and find that life for themselves. It is the radical joy of Christ--exquisitely present & unleashed through us--that captures the hearts of those around us and invites them to know Him.
"Don't Hold Back," right? Yeah, it's all coming together.
This also goes back to a question I had around something Chesterton wrote in Orthodoxy--that Christ concealed his joy from us while he was here in the flesh. I asked, why would he do that? Perhaps the answer lies in the amazing attractive quality fo Christ's joy. If his joy had been unveiled, its power might well have drawn people to him so powerfully that they would rebel against Rome and fight to establish him as an earthly king. But that was not the plan...the plan was for Christ to die, and then for us to become the conduits through which his joy and LIFE are unleashed on the world.
How awesome to think that our call, our mandate as Christ-followers, is to abandon ourselves to the Life-To-The-Full he came to offer, to dive into it headlong as to a powerful river, and let it take us, helpless and free, wherever it wants to go.
Stop resisting life, indeed.
"We can live any way we want. People take vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience—even of silence—by choice. The thing is to stalk your calling in a certain skilled and supple way, to locate the most tender and live spot and plug into that pulse…I think it would be well, and proper, and obedient, and pure, to grasp your one necessity and not let it go, to dangle from it limp wherever it takes you."-Annie Dillard