Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Myth of Bliss





I love the idea of "bliss" which Webster's defines as complete happiness. The myth is that it is supposed to be a constant state so when it isn't, we can become disillusioned with the concept. I have fallen into the bliss trap myself, thinking that if only I had this or could do that I would be completely happy. On the short-term it may work but in the reality of life I've had to understand that bliss comes in stages, is sometimes momentary, and often fleeting.

I am learning to appreciate the little moments of bliss as I seek to find something each day that brings happiness and contentment, if only for a little while, in the midst of all else that may not. I pursue bliss knowing that real life is a mix of both - moments of complete happiness coupled with the hum-drum, the urgent, the work we have to do that we don't want to, and the unexpected that we had hoped to avoid altogether.

I saw a needlework sampler that had the verse "May the work of your hands be the wish of your heart." It inspired my artistic nature from which I often find bliss. I love the idea of letting the work of my hands merge with the desire of my heart, sometimes even finding a way to make the daily chores of life become a work of contentment.

Sometimes bliss comes unexpectedly as I am going about my routine and come upon something beautiful or unusual that causes me to pause and watch. Like the time I was having morning coffee while sitting in my porch swing and the sun shone through a dew-moistened spider web connected to a porch post. It was all sparkly and illuminated as if it was studded with diamonds and the spider was already at work mending the web from what I guess was breakfast captured earlier. Or when I rock a baby to sleep and watch him or her give in to slumber with complete abandonment without a care in the world.

For me there is also a sadness that can accompany the pursuit of bliss because what I dream about isn't always possible. I get frustrated by not being able to do all my heart is drawn to, sometimes having to surrender to undeniable limitations. That's when the Lord gently reminds me that His grace is sufficient and that every good and perfect gift comes from Him.  The real treasures I seek should be from above and not the temporal ones here on earth. It isn't that there's anything wrong with being surrounded with beautiful things or pursuing a dream career or idyllic location. God blesses in those ways too and I think He especially takes joy when we find bliss in what He has created or provided. But when we want those things to be the primary source of our joy and contentment we can find it lacking. Even the most beautiful home or most satisfying job will have moments of disappointment.

Seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness as scripture says will bring lasting contentment. The life I will have with the Lord after this one will be eternal bliss so that is my focus, but in the meantime I will continue to seek the grace notes in daily life.

9 comments:

  1. Thank you for your post. I agree with you. Until my time comes to be with him, I will seek joy here on earth. Have a great day.

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  2. I think of bliss the same way I do of being happy. They both come and go, and aren't sustained over long periods of time. I think more of contentment and peace as being an underlying feeling to my days, with bliss an extra added in. I can always count on finding some in my coffee cup, every day )

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  3. Thanks good post...totally agree, not having bliss all the time keeps us from loving this world too much and allows us to hunger for His presence in Heaven.

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  4. So true! I'm learning to find the blissful joys in all the little things and even the not so blissful things, knowing that all things are from God for a reason. Great post!

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  5. Thank you for your post. I agree bliss is fleeting it comes and goes, waxes and wains. But when those moments of bliss come when I get a sweet hug and kiss from my grand-babies,or something simple like the sun shining through a cloud I try to remember the Master who gave me the bliss. I can't say I always do but I do try......Thank you again Cindy

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  6. Amen! An old retired missionary to China once told me, "Hold everything in your hand lightly" And I added to that "except Christ"

    Blessings!

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  7. Contentment in Christ keeps that unexplainable joy present in my daily, and those little moments of "bliss" are just little extras, but aren't what I pursue. Like you said, just little grace notes here and there.

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  8. Such good advice Cindy !!

    Thanks!

    Marilyn...in Mississippi

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  9. Thank you for expressing very well these truths.
    Studying Psalms in our ladies' class, we are repeatedly struck with the combination of fear and pleading with confident praise and thanksgiving.
    In Thessalonians we are told to give thanks in all things - not FOR all things, but IN all things. There is always that to be thankful for - the primary thing being our hope of salvation through the blood of Jesus Christ.

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