An Attitude of Gratitude

An Attitude of Gratitude

By Prof. Jane Annette L. Belarmino, Vice President for Development 

What is an attitude? An attitude is a feeling or emotion hidden in our hearts that will eventually be expressed in outward behavior.  People and circumstances are like chisels or tools that shape our attitude.  How these tools are used, how we allow people and circumstances to shape our attitudes is up to us.  You decide what your attitude will be.  You have a choice. For instance, you can choose your attitude for having to wake up at 4:00 in the morning to come here by 5:30.  You can feel sorry and sit there, wishing you were back in your soft warm bed.  Or you can decide to be thankful because you are able to learn, fellowship with your friends, enjoy a beautiful sunrise and perhaps have a good breakfast.

We can choose our attitudes.  We can opt to complain because of unfulfilled desires or decide to be thankful that we have what we need.  If we feed the attitude of grumbling, we become more discontented, only seeing what is bad and lacking.  But if we cultivate an attitude of gratitude, we are able to focus on the positive.  We can come out of our pain, or difficulty or maybe just plain discomfort, and show ourselves worthy.

Our attitude mirrors our character as a man or a woman. The person with the positive, healthy attitude will prevail over someone who may have skill and intelligence but a lousy negative attitude.  Attitude cannot replace ability and brains, but makes the difference between two bright, talented people.

Why choose to develop an attitude of gratitude? Because  God wants us to be thankful.   Ist Thessalonians 5: 16-18 says “Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

Gratitude is thankfulness.  Joy and gratitude go together.  Joyful people have learned to be patient and let go of things that are good but temporary, for God’s best.  Joyful people are those who have learned to be content.  Joyful people are grateful people who demonstrate their gratitude through unselfish acts of giving.  They give of their material possessions, time, and talent.

Joy is being positive in every situation, knowing that God is in control, that God has a greater purpose for our lives.  We are to give thanks in all circumstances, not only when things go our way. Joy is not the same as happiness.  You say you are happy when you pass an exam, delighted when you are allowed to go on a trip, ecstatic when you have your first car.  It is easy to be thankful at times like this. But what if you don’t get what you want?  What if you are in a lot of physical or emotional pain and academic or financial difficulty? Decide to be joyful still, see the good that can come of it and be grateful for the grace and blessings God has given you.

Choose to be thankful that you have hope, that God will enable you to change your circumstance.  You are exactly where God wants you to be when He has your attention.  He told us to pray without ceasing.  Every battle that we face should begin, continue and end in prayer.  We need not fight our battles alone.  He wants you to learn to trust Him, and allow Him to mold you into men and women of excellent noble character who live lives that please Him.

You have a destiny.  You are not an afterthought.  Knowing that God has a plan and purpose for your life is reason enough to be grateful.   Knowing that He is in control, that He holds you in the palm of His hands because you are important to Him, is more reason to give thanks.  Knowing that Jesus loves you, that He died for your sins, that He gave you hope and a future, are the most compelling reasons to live your lives with an attitude of gratitude.