Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. I Thessalonians 5:18
Yesterday, I played “the glad game.” I was experiencing SM induced pain and weakness, and two of my kids were home with strep throat. They were understandably needy and I was just barely managing. Instead of getting discouraged, I began to list in my mind all of the good things about the day: Jesus, a warm house, the ability to be together, antibiotics, health insurance, hot soup for lunch, popsicles, Tylenol for fevers, movies to watch, blankets, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. Did I mention Jesus? Well he IS the best part of anything. Really I could go on and on. How could I be discouraged? IT WAS A GREAT DAY!
Perhaps some of you might recall the Disney movie, Pollyanna, made in 1960 and based on a novel written by Eleanor Porter, which she later developed into a children’s book series. The original Pollyanna is a sweet story and a wholesome family movie! Pollyanna is a cheerful, optimistic orphan, who moves to a new town to live with her aunt. She encounters several interesting characters there, including a cranky hypochondriac, a bitter old recluse and, of course, her wealthy, controlling, withdrawn Aunt Polly.
Undaunted by their contentious ways, Pollyanna befriends these rather unlikable characters. Their attitudes begin to change as they see how Pollyanna chooses to appreciate and focus on good things. Pollyanna also introduces them to “the glad game.” It’s a game she plays when things aren’t going so well. Instead of complaining, she finds something POSITIVE to focus on in every situation.
I believe that only God is able to truly change heart attitudes and, of course, Pollyanna is a fictional character. But she makes a really good point! However, the author who created Pollyanna did not invent this concept. God, the greatest author ever, tells us to focus on things which are “lovely” and “be content” in every circumstance.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
If you haven’t seen Pollyanna, by all means, have a family movie night with a positive message! Oh and Pollyanna doesn’t become a princess and live happily ever after. Yes, there is a Disney movie with a plot somewhere in the realm of possibility.
Journey with me.