Sometimes, being grateful is a choice.

Actually, gratitude is always a choice.

Jealousy versus Gratitude

We choose to be grateful, despite the fact that someone else may have more friends, more money, or a “better” life.

As a Christian, I choose to be grateful.  I make it my prerogative to find things to be grateful for, despite how much Facebook seems to tell me differently.  Just because someone seems to have the perfect life on the internet, in their filtered Instagram photos and joy-filled Facebook statuses, doesn’t mean that my life is any less beautiful or less worthy of gratitude.  Just because someone seems to be perfect doesn’t mean they are.

As leaders in missional communities, we should encourage our students and those around us to seek gratitude in the new year.  So many stresses and jealousies assault college students every day- from not having the right clothes or a significant other to heavier and more significant spiritual issues, college students often forget to be grateful for the gifts they’ve already been given.  This year, we should encourage our students to make choosing gratitude a priority.  Seeking thankfulness.  Searching for God’s gifts in every day life.  Looking for His mark all around us.

Making the Choice

I choose to be grateful.

I choose to be thankful for all the wonderful people I have in my life.

I choose to praise God for the wonderful and the wonder-less; the beautiful and the ugly; the triumphs and the heartaches.  I praise Him despite circumstance.  I praise Him despite my feelings, despite my wants, and despite my complaints.  I choose to praise.

I choose to be grateful for all that I have been given, and be grateful that God gives us exactly what we need.  His works are not always understandable, but we know they are good.  We are confident they are good, and that is reason to give thanks.

We choose gratitude.  We choose to say an emphatic NO to social media’s spoiling our accomplishments and encouraging comparison between friends.  We choose to say “Thank You”, and focus on the good (and the God) in our lives.  We choose to praise God, despite circumstance.  We choose to have faith.

It’s all choices.  It boils down to work and faith and fear and gratitude in a tangled mess.  Gratitude is built on heartache and sadness, sometimes.  Gratitude can be built on exceptional people, but it can also be built on unfortunate circumstances.

Praise is given, when someone chooses to sing.

Gratitude is found, when someone chooses to find it.

525467_3865286869009_1184585974_nCallie Hyde is an honors student at Baylor University.  She writes for a blog called Sincerely, Callie (www.sincerelycallie.com) and is part of Baylor Spiritual Life’s Freshman Retreat, a small group leader at Highland Baptist Church, a Green’s Scholar, and co-creator of Open Book, a group for Baylor freshmen that encourages fellowship and faith with other Christians seeking mentorship and friendship.