Do You Have a Pollyanna Attitude?

It may not be a phrase that we hear much, but have you ever thought to consider whether or not you have a “Pollyanna attitude?”

It basically means a person who only sees the positive in every situation.  However it is not exactly a compliment to be told that you have a Pollyanna attitude.  In fact, it’s used in a negative connotation.  That’s because those with this type of attitude are also thought to be unrealistic.

Sometimes I think Christians can get wrapped up in a Pollyanna attitude.  Those who walk around with an “I’m blessed” attitude 24/7 can actually become a bit unnerving.  I realize this might strike a nerve with some but hear me out.

Don’t get me wrong, a positive attitude is a great thing to have.  As a believer we definitely should be equipped with a positive attitude.  However, a positive attitude should not override reality.  Some things in life really aren’t that great.

The death of a loved one, the breakup of a marriage, a child who has turned away from the Lord…these are very real and very painful circumstances in life.  When a Christian comes to you with a Pollyanna attitude, they can almost make you feel guilty that you are mourning a death, are upset about your marital struggles or that you lie awake at night worrying about your child.

I always say that just because I’m a Christian, doesn’t mean I’m a robot.  I still have feelings and I still struggle.  I have not “arrived” to that place where I can face every single difficult circumstance in life without losing an ounce of faith or doing it all right.  Sometimes I really do mess up.

But I’m so glad that God doesn’t have a Pollyanna attitude toward me.  He is full of mercy and grace and He can take whatever I dish out at Him.  If you don’t believe me, spend some time reading the Psalms, especially “The Message” version.  It gives you a real taste of an attitude that isn’t always positive.

Should we have a positive attitude?  Yes, most definitely.  But will there be times we fall short?  As long as we are on this earth we will.  So let’s cut each other some slack and get rid of the Pollyanna attitude.

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  1. Joe_Sewell said:

    Some Christians have been taught that “speaking negative” will cause negative things to happen. That notion isn’t Biblical; in fact, it’s a splinter of the wretched bit of heretical mysticism known as the “Word of Faith” movement. It has been said that an optimist sees a glass as half-full, while a pessimist sees a glass as half-empty. What few people ever mention is that both are right! (Of course, the guy with OCD fills the glass the rest of the way, the thirsty guy drinks it all, and the engineer realizes there was twice as much glass as the optimist & pessimist needed in the first place. 🙂 )

    March 18, 2011
  2. Joe_Sewell said:

    Oh, just a quick note: your bio has your blog at rather than at There is a blog at with your name on it, but only 2 posts.

    March 18, 2011
  3. The link isn’t correct to my blog. I asked Chuck to fix it. I’m glad you pointed that out, as I didn’t realize that. Thanks!

    March 18, 2011
  4. said:

    I am reading Will Willimon’s book Thank God It’s Friday – I have been very moved by it. His fourth chapter – on Matthew 27:45-49, starts with the line “My church doesn’t do well in the dark.” His very first point is that sometimes, Church made to make us feel good all the time, doesn’t meet the real need of people going through suffering. I totally agree with you about the Pollyanna – life isn’t always good. Sometimes it really stinks! But that doesn’t mean the end will be. Thanks for your post!

    March 19, 2011

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