Have you ever seen the movie, Pollyanna? The one about a girl who goes through life playing the glad-game and always seeing things on the sunny-side-of-life? The definition of a Pollyanna? One who is excessively cheerful and optimistic. That's her!
But it sure isn't me!
As a child, I loved that movie. I wanted to be like her...a bright ray of sunshine making the whole world...and everyone in it...happy. I wanted to dress like her, talk like her, be her. But no matter how hard I tried, I never could. Oh, I could keep up the effort for a time or two...or even a day or so...but in the end, I always ended up me: insecure, never sure of what to say, feeling inadequate in most situations...plain ol' me.
Maybe that's when my gift of encouragement first started peeking out of the shadows...only to be eclipsed by my fleshly attempts to drag it out into the open and make it perform like I thought it should...in just the same way that Pollyanna did.
All I know is that I embraced the challenge that a little girl named Pollyanna could meet someone who was unhappy or in pain...and through her cheerfulness and optimism...turn that person into someone who was lovely, hopeful, and changed! She was like a little bit of yeast that turned a whole lump of sticky, gooey humanity into a loaf of bread fit for a king!
There's a lot of truth to the idea that what you read and see as a child and as an adult, leaves an imprint on you...for better or for worse. I still find myself singing that song from our kid's childhoods, "Input, output, what goes in is what comes out...input, output daily you must choose."
All this came to mind this morning as I was reading in 1 Thessalonians where Paul writes...