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The Pollyanna Paradigm

Updated: Apr 11, 2023

As kids, anytime we would pout or get out of sorts, rather than give in to solicited sympathy, my grandmother would tell us, “Well, you can get glad in the same pants you got mad in.” This saying trickled down through my mother and is now a common one I use with my daughter today. Similar situations when we got older earned us the advice, “You can just put on your big girl panties and get over it.” I know this may sound harsh and lack compassion, but this has been so pertinent in my life because it has trained me to look for ways to find good in all situations. It has helped me to search for the silver lining in all circumstances.

One of my favorite movies as a kid was the Disney classic, “Pollyanna.” I loved this movie for many reasons, but as an adult, my biggest appreciation comes from Pollyanna’s commitment to The Glad Game. Whether it be her stick-in-the-mud aunt, the crabby cook, or the sullen Mrs. Snow in the movie, Pollyanna’s positive attitude, and her Glad Game softens the hearts of those around her as well as guards her own against negativity. Like in real life, positivity does not keep tragedy away, it does not prevent dreadful things from happening to sweet Pollyanna. I do not want to spoil the movie (because if you have not seen it, go watch it with your kids), but grave sadness and trauma find their way into Pollyanna’s life. However, she digs deep into her soul and the support around her to continue her life-giving Glad Game.

I do believe that there is validity in allowing yourself to feel sad, disappointed, frustrated, and other “negative” emotions. It is completely ok to not be ok. However, it is not ok to stay in those places. It is not ok to let those feelings guide our steps or hearts. The bible tells us there is a time to mourn, a time for sorrow, a time for discontentment, but each of those times is followed by a more positive outlook ((Eccl. 3:4-9).

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Phil. 4:8

Through my current journey of cancer and pregnancy, there have been many times I have been reminded by the Holy Spirit, myself, or others that I must keep my eyes on Jesus. He is true, honorable, right, and pure. Yes, I have had days that the negative emotions lurk at the doorway and threaten my typical “sunshine and rainbows” attitude, but I am learning to take those thoughts captive and make them align with the Truth and Promises of Jesus (2 Cor. 10:5). Throughout this, I have been commended on my faith and ability to exude peace and I whole-heartedly appreciate the compliment, but this journey has been far beyond a test of faith and peace. Yes, it has been a test of do I believe what I way I believe, but it has also been a test of how am I going to walk this out daily, moment by moment?! And in that test is where I have recalled the beauty of The Glad Game.

I have full faith that God is good and faithful and WILL see my family and I through this. I trust that God’s will and plan for my life are bigger and better than mine. I know that the blood of Jesus covers me with grace and mercy to walk this journey amidst my stumbling and faults. But this journey also takes my commitment to get glad in the same pants I get mad in. It requires me to put on my big girl panties and get over the rocks and boulders that have been placed in my path. Look for the silver lining and play The Glad Game.

PRAISE GOD these choices are not made solely in my own strength. PRAISE GOD I am not faced with getting over these rocks and boulders with my own emotional guide. PRAISE GOD I have the Holy Spirit to fill in the gaps my flesh is weak.

I don’t know what circumstances in your life have you feeling down and out, hopeless. I don’t know what has frustrated you or disappointed you into a place of despair or anger. But friends, I do know this, no matter what you face you can look for something to be glad in. Throughout the Psalms, David often laments (complaints, yells, grieves) to God, but it always is either prefaced or followed with praise. Even David played The Glad Game.

On Tuesday morning (4/5/22) I will kiss my beloved husband as he leaves for work, take my sweet Conley girl to school, and then be admitted to the hospital for treatments to strengthen my body and my precious unborn son Knox before his debut (c-section) and my cancer treatment (radical hysterectomy). But rather than allow my mind to focus on the fear and worry of what lies ahead, I lean on the example of Pollyanna.

I am glad I have a wonderful husband and daughter.

I am glad that I don’t walk this alone. I don’t just have the Holy Spirit; I have my family and friends to support me.

I am glad that I have an amazing team of doctors and specially trained nurses to care for me and Knox.

I am glad I serve a Good, Good Father that has my future in His hands.

I am glad that because He lives, I can face tomorrow and all the tomorrows that will follow.


This song has been one of go-to's in this journey:

Spirit Lead Me

"When all hope is gone and Your Word is all I've got I have to believe, You still bring water from the rock To satisfy my thirst, to love me at my worst And even when I don't remember, You remind me of my worth I don't trust my ways, I'm trading in my faults I lay down everything 'cause You're all that I want I've landed on my knees This is the cup You have for me And even when it don't make sense

I'm gonna let Your Spirit lead"


I look forward to sharing more about the goodness of God on the other side of this boulder. Kirby and I cannot thank you enough for all of your love, prayers, and support.

Blessings to you and yours! -Andrea




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