In my last post, in which I cited Jackie Alnor, she used the term “Pauliannas” when she was speaking of certain false teachers (who copy Paula White) tickling the ears of undiscerning women. It was a humorous, morphed use of the term “pollyanna” as I usually see it used.
Normally this is how I hear the term “pollyanna” used:
“So and so is just a pollyanna”; in other words, she is in a dream world of the goodie-goodies and not in reality.
Perhaps I live in a dream world because I have never used it that way. Instead I would use “pollyanna” in a good context to express a person’s good outlook on life even when the chips are down; trusting God no matter what.
Pollyanna, by Eleanor H. Porter, is one of my favorite stories from childhood and, in fact, as an adult. Having just reread it this January, I am reminded of its sweet charm. The story was written in 1913 and, although the past seems to have a simple charm of its own, we do know that sin was running rampant even then.
Pollyanna showcases an orphaned little girl who was named after two of her mother’s sisters, Polly and Anna. She is the remaining child of the daughter whose family didn’t accept her choice of husband, and Pollyanna has come back to live with Aunt Polly who is doing her "duty".
Throughout the story, Pollyanna tells other people about the “Glad Game” which her father had taught her. In the game, you are to think of something to be glad about in the events that have happened to you. The worse the situation, the better the game of thinking of what to be glad about.
Talk about capturing your thoughts! (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)
As my life has unfolded I can see how this story has helped me shape my biblical thinking as well. Instead of looking at all the bad side, let us look on the good side in what has happened. This certainly keeps a person from growing bitter roots.
“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:31-32
I love using Pollyanna as an example of trusting God in the good times and the bad. He can mold us, when we are willing, into His image as we are crying out to Him. Although I would never want pain for others or myself, I surely have learned that in my agonies I have been helped to mature in the LORD.
As a caveat: Other people I have known have not liked the 1960 Walt Disney movie, Pollyanna, because the story was changed a bit from the book. But for me? I love the movie as well as I love the book. I am “glad” it is different!