“The Bliss Factor” is a term we have used since Blissy was about three years old to determine whether someone passed the test of admittance into our circle of friends. Ever since she was a small child, Bliss has been an excellent and speedy judge of character. If she gave someone the sideways glance, if they seemed easily perturbed by her, we knew…this friendship or acquaintance was not going to last. Better to bid farewell now before she told them in no uncertain terms WHY she didn’t particularly get along with them.
Allow me to explain two different relationships from Bliss’s perspective and the important picture they give us as parents.
We have an acquaintance… Let’s just call her Diane (not her real name but it makes for a snappy title). She would drop by from time to time. She seemed to get along fine with everyone, except Blissy. Diane would call out her simple mistakes in speaking, make fun of her in sneaky ways, and in general always assumed Bliss was always up to no good. After each (brief and unwanted) visit, Blissy would be shaken. Angry. Annoyed. And for this reason, among others, Diane was not very welcome in our home.
And then we have this neighbor. We’ll call him Jack. He notices many of the same qualities about Bliss that Diane would mock, and he LOVES them. Wouldn’t dare poke fun at them. Laughs WITH her in all her idiosyncrasies, including her english accent which seems to come and go at will. He embraces all of her strengths and wouldn’t ever even mention a weakness or mistake. Brazenly, he lets everyone know that Bliss is his favorite. And after every encounter with this neighbor, she shines. Just glistens with hope and expectation.
The difference between the outcome of Jack and Diane’s life could not be more stark in contrast and outcome. Jack has eight children, Diane has none. Jack has made an incredible legacy for himself, not merely in terms of wealth, but also in his ability to encourage and call out greatness in others around him. Diane will likely not be remembered for much since her influence on others is limited at best and no one can really say their lives were changed or bettered by her relationship with them. And certainly, only one of them has the distinct pleasure of Blissy’s company on a regular basis.
Now this lesson applies quite personally to you, folks…so hang in there and pay attention.
Be the type of person who believes God sees you the way Jack sees Bliss. He loves your faults, even to the point of seeing them as endearing rather than annoying. You are His absolute favorite. You are exceedingly loved by a powerful God who desires to bless you and help you along your way…establishing your steps as you walk out your faith journey. Seeing yourself as the apple of His eye should bring confidence and expectation that will encourage you to greater acts of faith! If you believe that God is like Diane: mocking you, calling you out on every little mistake, finding you annoying or assuming you are up to no good…How will you be inspired to accomplish anything in life? Why would you desire to serve a God like that? Unfortunately, far too many people think God is a lot like Diane…so they never blossom in their relationship with Him. They never move too far ahead in life. Their influence is limited by their faulty understanding of a lavishly loving Heavenly Father.
And beware, lest you find yourself like Diane. Mocking others and assuming the worst about people, especially children. You will find yourself alone and barren in more ways than one.
And remember the Bliss factor. Because if you don’t pass that, we just can’t be friends.