Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Power of the Glad Game by Jenna Vick Silliman

After lunch, if the weather was nice, I took my nursing baby Michael in arms, and our book of choice, and we sat out on the back lawn on a blanket. Daniel, age 9, Valerie, age 7, and David, age 5, listened with rapt attention. This was our favorite part of homeschooling—reading aloud great stories.

Pollyanna by Eleanor Porter, one of those children’s classics, was our book of choice. I’ve read it several times now, but I first read it in 1991. (Later I saw the movie and it was lame—nothing like the story!) Pollyanna, orphaned and taken in by her spinster aunt, changed the world around her, simply by her lifestyle of a positive outlook. Pollyanna played The Glad Game.

The Glad Game is played by replacing any negative thought with a positive one. If it is raining, you choose to be glad your flowers are getting watered. If you twist your ankle, you say, “I’m glad I didn’t break my leg.” If some food is served that you don’t particularly care for, you simply think about how glad you are that it isn’t a mud pie or a bowl full of worms or something you would never want to eat.

Pollyanna always had something to be glad about. When she was a small girl, her preacher daddy showed her all the things collected in the missionary barrel. He told her she could always be glad she didn’t need the crutches. She grieved the loss of her father, but honored his memory by practicing what he preached. He taught her to live by the Bible and how there are over a thousand Scriptures on being glad, joyful, happy, rejoicing, giving thanks, and being grateful to a good God.

That little story permeated my being. I soaked it up like sweet maple syrup on a pancake. I used to be critical, perfectionistic, negative, melancholy, often downcast or depressed, and struggled with self-pity. Reading that simple story was a turning point. As I began to practice the powerful glad game, I began to experience joy, gratitude, and thankfulness for every little thing. At first it felt kind of silly or child-like to constantly think about what I could be glad about. However, isn’t that what Jesus taught us? He said we are to enter His kingdom as little children. Children delight in little things, like dandelions going to seed, a rainbow, or finding a penny.

I am a different person today. Now I am full of gratitude and hope and joy. I am one of the most optimistic people you will ever meet. My attitude is far from perfect, but I don’t sweat the small stuff any more. I like to see my life through rose-colored glasses. I know the glass is half full, not half empty. The enemy tries to get us to focus on the half empty part of the glass. He wants to distract us with negativity, critical thoughts, lack, and complaints. We enter God's gates, His very presence, when we have thanksgiving in our hearts. (Psalm 100) The Lord inhabits the praises of His people! You wanna be close to God? Play "The Glad Game" and see what a difference it makes.

Now my favorite thing to do is worship the Lord for all His good gifts. I LOVE LIFE! Rejoicing always and celebrating the abundant life of Jesus is what LIFE is all about. Jesus said that is why He came to earth! (See John 10:10) Man oh man there are SO many things to be GLAD about!


Linda Maynard said...

I read a lot of children's books, even now.
I only saw the movie Pollyanna...I am going to have to check out the book.
It is hard for me to imagine you depressed or cynical.
He does encourage us to be like little children...I try to do that Thanks for sharing

Joyce Lighari said...

Oh you remind me so much of a former friend of mine... she was a Pollyanna too... It's a good trait but one I don't possess - perhaps I should cultivate some of it.

Sheryl Lynn said...

What a beautiful and well written post. Like you, I try to look at the positive. Sometimes it's challenging, when as you say "the enemy tries to get us to focus on the half empty part of the glass." But oh how worthwhile the endeavor to have a happy heart! Thanks for the uplifting post.

Andrea York said...

Can you believe I've never read the book, nor seen the movie. I love your recommendation, though. Thanks.