How to be thankful (when you’re not)
I’m going to be upfront and honest with you – sometimes, I just don’t feel thankful.
When life’s hard – really hard – and I’m assuming it is for you too – it’s surprising how often we look around us and simply not see anything we can or want to give thanks for.
Despite the Hallmark sentiments and overstuffed turkeys of Thanksgiving, sometimes we just can’t summon the energy, let alone the desire, to be thankful for a life that’s left us overwhelmed, exhausted, frightened of what’s to come and gasping for air.
We don’t feel grateful.
We don’t feel blessed to be living the life we’ve been dealt.
Honestly? We’re tired, fed up and ready for things to change.
But in the back of our minds, despite how hard everything is right now and how ungrateful we actually feel, we know we really should be and give thanks anyway.
Whether it’s our mother’s voice ingrained in our psyche, our God-given moral compass, or the constant barrage of cards, social media posts and sermons from 1 Thess 5:18 – you know, the one that says, Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
We worry if we’re not thankful for the blessings we do have, we’re at best ungrateful, and at worst, entitled or unfaithful, and that horrifies us. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a struggle.
Deep inside, on an intellectual and spiritual level, we may understand that gratitude lifts the spirits, and a thankful heart really can brighten a dark, stormy day, but that doesn’t change that we still don’t feel thankful.
Even having Thessalonians 5:18 tattooed on our foreheads can’t make us feel thankful when we’re not.
And then we’re right back to thankfulness square one – where we don’t feel it, so we don’t do it; we avoid it.
So what are we meant to do?
Today on Chemo Chair Prayers I share how the answer to this conundrum came in the unlikely form of a workout class and the five things I learned to help us be thankful when we’re not.
👍🏻 Just do it
👍🏻 Start with what’s right in front of you.
👍🏻 When we give Thanks for the battle we Discover the beauty
👍🏻 Ask for God’s help
👍🏻 Rinse and repeat.
Download your TRUST prayer book mark HERE so you can pray with more confidence and less doubt in the week ahead.
I wrote a whole chapter about giving thanks when you don’t feel it in my book Breathe Again: How to Live Well When Life Falls Apart. You can read more about it and download a couple of FREE chapters HERE or buy a copy HERE
And here’s a great article from Harvard Medical School showing the benefits of gratitude to our happiness and