I don’t know if you’re familiar with Pollyanna or not… but I have a confession to make. She’s not my favorite girl in the world. If you don’t know who she is here’s the VERY short version of her story.
Pollyanna is a poor little orphan girl who is sent to live with her not so friendly aunt. Her mission in life? To play the game created by her father before he passed away – the “glad game” where she must always have an optimistic attitude and find the positives in every situation that she faces. She learns to play this “game” with her aunt as well as all the people that she crosses paths with in her new hometown. Because of this the people slowly learn to transform their attitudes about life and the different issues they are dealing with. It so happened that one day Pollyanna gets hit by a car, which caused her to lose the ability to walk with her legs. During this time she gives up on playing her “glad game” because she can’t seem to find anything positive about the fact that she won’t ever be able to walk again. As she sinks deeper into discouragement and feeling negative about her situation the townspeople that she played the “glad game” with take turns showing up at her front door, bringing her gifts, and encouraging her to continue looking for the positives in life the same way that she used to encourage them to stay positive. Eventually, her spirits lift… she once again chooses to find reasons to be happy in life… and the best part? She learns to walk again. 🙂
The story is quite sentimental… but it’s one that convicted me after hearing it for the first time. When I first read the bible verse about the Proverbs 31 woman “smiling at her future” only one thought came to mind: Pollyanna. Why? Because this woman – no matter what situation she finds herself in life CHOOSES to stay positive, encouraged, and always looking forward to the future that God has in store for her, rather than fearing it or spending countless hours worrying about it. Why is the story of Pollyanna so convicting? It portrays the image of how a Christian person should be, how a Proverbs 31 woman is – and although the story is touching and nice – living it out in real life isn’t so easy.
I think anyone can agree that it’s so much easier to find the negatives in life. In fact – for the most part… you don’t need to look for negatives, they just always happen to be “there”. Positives? That may take some work. It might require you to put some effort into seeing your glass as half full when all you see is half empty. When instead of being grateful for what you DO have, you choose to be discouraged about what you don’t have. No one needs to learn to play the “have a negative attitude game” I think that comes naturally to most of us, but the “have a positive attitude no matter where you find yourself in life game”… yeah, not always so easy.
There is a rule when it comes to work, and I’m sure we all know what it is: leave your negative attitude, your issues, your problems, and your feelings at home. But I think our rule in life should go a little deeper. Don’t just leave your negative attitude at home before you step through the door of your office. Leave your negative attitude… period. Your co-workers don’t need it, your family doesn’t need it, your friends doesn’t need it, YOU don’t need it, and God definitely doesn’t need it. Learn to be a Proverbs 31 woman… stay positive and SMILE at your future. Leave your negative attitude in God’s hands, and let Him transform it into a positive one.
I like how in the verse it says that strength and dignity are her clothing. What do you do with clothes? You put them on. You must physically choose what clothes you want to wear for each day and then put them on yourself. No one else is going to do it for you (unless you’re 3 years old). And yes, when you are still a small child, it may be hard to put on your clothes, you may need other people’s help in helping you choose what to wear, but once you’re an adult, you’re on your own. It’s the same way with your attitude… you must put it on every day. You must CHOOSE each morning if you will have a positive attitude or a negative attitude. No one is going to choose it for you. You’re all on your own when it comes down to it. Sometimes people can stand by your side, encourage you when you’re going through a hard time, help lift your spirit, but at the end… it’s up to YOU and whether you will choose to look at the brighter side of life… whether you will put strength and dignity on as your clothing.
What is the opposite of strength? Weakness. If you wake up on the wrong side of the bed one morning, you have a choice to make, either you will choose to strengthen yourself in Christ, find your joy and encouragement in Him, or you will choose to remain weak… and a victim of the circumstance you find yourself in rather than a overcomer with Christ. Proverbs 31 woman put on strength every day. How? By seeking Christ. We must do the same.
When it comes to dignity the first image that crosses my mind is a woman walking with her head up, looking forward, with character and honor, with an air of freedom and purpose with each step that she takes. Not because she thinks she can do it on her own. Not because she think she’s “somethin’ else”. But because she knows God is right beside her… and when she doesn’t have the strength or power to do something, He does. When she feels like giving up, He’ll help her keep on going. When she finds it hard to keep that smile on her face, He will give her reasons to always be joyful. She walks confident into her future knowing that the One who created her has already prepared an incredible plan for her life and she has nothing to worry about because with Him walking by her side, she can conquer and be victorious over everything that comes her way. Now, THAT’S what I call an incredible woman!
There is a quote by Anthony J. D’Angelo that I absolutely love which sums this up quite well “Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine”. Is it raining in your life? Are you going through a storm? Stay positive. Keep on moving forward. Don’t give up. Find that sunshine in your life by turning to JESUS. Because with Jesus there is always joy. There are always plenty of blessings to count. There are a million reasons to be encouraged for the future. Let Him guide you and lead you into the glorious life He has in store for you… and while you’re there, don’t forget to be like the Proverbs 31 Woman… SMILE at your future. 🙂 because with God by your side, it’s going to be a fabulous one!!!
My goal: Throw away my negative attitude. Bring my own sunshine wherever I go. Put on strength and dignity every morning. Count my blessings. And SMILE at the future that God’s preparing for me. 🙂