Pessimist or Pollyanna?

I have told you this so that 
my joy may be in you and that 
your joy may be complete.
John 15:11

A prayer to live a joy-filled life.

Gracious God your gifts and blessing to me cannot be counted.  And yet so often I turn to the negative parts in my life and place my constant thoughts in them.  When I rise I forget to be thankful that I have yet another day in which to serve you and be blessed by you.  And as I go about my day when you place joyful moments at my fingertips I take them for granted.   When I lay my head down to sleep I can easily recall all that went wrong in the day rather than what went right.  But your joy is there for the taking.  I want to live basked in your greatness, your beauty and your joy.  I can and will, with your help, find joy in every circumstance.  You are working for my good at all times and I just need to remember that promise.  Thank you for giving us your Son who implanted the Holy Spirit in us – a spirit of joy and of goodness.  I pray this in your Son’s Holy name, Jesus.  Amen


I always called her a Pollyanna.  The term comes from the movie of the same name in which a young girl arrives at a small town filled with bitter people.  But her neverending, cheerful spirit wins them over.  Nowadays, a “Pollyanna” seems to be said as a negative.  That, along with wearing “rose-colored glasses” are attributed to people who just want to see the positives in everything.  I know, makes you sick, doesn’t it?

But my mother-in-law truly is such a person.  And this last year that cheerful, joy-filled spirit was truly tested, not only with all the lockdowns but with a diagnosis of cancer.  On her worst days she was a bit dispirited.  Yes, worst days.  I mean the woman seemed to look forward to her cancer treatments because she would probably run into a friend and chat for hours while the poison did its deadly work. 

A cheerful heart is good medicine, 
but a crushed spirit dries up 
the bones.
Proverbs 17:22 

At times being a “bit dispirited” can seem like my best day.  I’ve been a well-trained, tried and true pessimist for so long that the concept of daily joy is a lot of work for me to achieve.  It’s easy to sit back and marinate in the mess of life.  It takes work to get up, dust ourselves off and say “oh well let’s make the best of this.”  

Thank goodness our strength comes from the LORD.  I’m committing myself to stopping negative thinking and instead, like playing a game of “Where’s Waldo,” searching for the joy in the moments of my life.  I know they are there because joy is one of the promised fruits of His spirit.  

He’s there somewhere! Just keep searching!

I stood in Walmart the other day waiting in a long line to check out.  Normally, I’d be mentally lopping off all the heads of the cashiers for taking so long and planning my complaint letter to management for not opening more registers.  Instead, I settled in to God’s joy.  I was happy to have found all the items on my long list and the people watching at Walmart is topnotch!  I was so bathed in God’s joy that I even let someone with only two items go in front of me.

I could have turned a simple shopping trip into a miserable experience very easily.  I’m counting on God to keep giving me opportunities to flip the script from pessimist to Pollyanna.  Because when the day comes when I need it most, I want to be well-trained and tested in living a joy-filled life.

If you want this too, add the prayer to your daily prayer list and watch and see how God works in your life!

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