Column: Gratitude

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Column: Gratitude

Jordyn Britton is the Photo Editor for the Collegian

Why do you thank God for things in your life?

You’ve probably heard dozens of sermons and devotionals on gratitude in your lifetime, so you know you should be thankful. Maybe you thank God for your salvation every once in a while, or give thanks before meals, just so you cover that little commandment. But gratitude is more than checking off a box. Do you thank God only because you know you’re supposed to, or because you have genuine gratitude in your heart?

Maybe you don’t think you struggle that much with complaining or discontent – maybe overall you’re satisfied with where you are and what God’s been doing in your life. Even then, how often do you take things for granted? At the very least, God has given us breath and life on this earth, and if you’re a Christian, He’s given you salvation and a restored relationship with Him. You have an eternal home that has been secured for you in heaven, and a promise that God will be with you in this life until He calls you there.

In addition to that, there are so many ordinary things that we don’t recognize as His gifts because they’re, well… somewhat ordinary. Maybe God’s protected you and given you safety driving around Greenville for the past few weeks. Maybe He’s given you a friend or two that you can count on to listen to you. Maybe He’s blessed you with a job to pay your school bill, or with parents who are willing to help you financially. He’s given you a chance to come to college and learn about things you enjoy, and have experiences that you’ll remember for the rest of your life.

Maybe you can be thankful you’re having an easier week, or even an easier semester, one with less homework and meetings and a little more breathing room. Or if you feel like you’re in the midst of chaos everywhere, you can be thankful for the trials that deepen your relationship with God.

And again, I’m not talking about empty obligatory gratitude. If something good happens and it lifts your mood, direct your thoughts in thankfulness to God. If something difficult happens and you’re frustrated or stressed, direct your thoughts to God and thank Him for the opportunity He’s given you to grow.

Now I know there are weeks when you have four tests, two projects, extracurricular events and hours of work on your schedule. I know there are days when you’re running off insufficient sleep and everything seems to be falling apart around you. I know it seems impossible to be grateful when all you can feel is stress and exhaustion. But even if you don’t feel gratitude, you can express it in prayer to God.

If you can’t bring yourself to do that, I want to challenge you to take a moment to pray for a grateful heart. Ask God to help you see the good in your situation. Even when it seems like you have nothing left to give, you can give God your praise.