Sometimes I just don’t feel thankful. Call me a spoiled brat, but don’t we all feel like that occasionally? Especially when life’s hard – really hard.
Despite the Hallmark sentiments and overstuffed turkeys, sometimes we just can’t summon the energy, let alone the desire, to be thankful for a life that’s left us gasping for air.
We’re not grateful.
We don’t feel blessed.
We’re tired, fed up and ready for things to change.
I get it. I really do.
Yet despite these feelings, we know we should be grateful. Whether it’s our mother’s voice ingrained in our psyche, or our God-given moral compass, we know if we’re not thankful for what small blessing we do have, we’re at best ungrateful schmucks, or at worst, entitled, and that horrifies us.
Deep inside we may understand gratitude lifts the spirits, and a thankful heart really can brighten a dark, stormy day, but we still don’t feel thankful. Even having Thessalonians 5:18 tattooed on our foreheads can’t make us feel it.
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1Thess 5:18 NIV)
And when we don’t feel it, we don’t do it; we avoid it.
So what’s a girl to do?
The key to this conundrum came to me quite by accident in my sculpt class this week. It sounds like a gentle time of molding beautiful objects out of clay, but in reality, it’s a painful forty-five minutes of squats, lunges, and planks, to lift all that sags and tone all that droops. I’d brought Grumpy and Sleepy, and their cousins Resentful and Stroppy along for the workout. To say I wasn’t feeling the Thanksgiving spirit is an understatement. Huffing and puffing my way through a painful set of leg raises my mind wandered to all the tough stuff weighing me down. As the burning in my muscles intensified so did my negative emotions.
I love my instructor Kelli. She’s a woman of great faith, wisdom, and abs. A mum of six kids I admire her parenting, faith and attitude to life and fitness. Secretly I want to be her when I grow up, so when she encouraged us to name something we’re grateful for with each leg lift, I followed her lead despite my dark mood. Surprisingly, by the end, it wasn’t just my butt that had lifted. I really did feel better, lighter, and less like life owed me something for all the grief it was throwing my way.
I know life’s not always kind so I thought I’d share what I learned; how I was thankful when I wasn’t.
- Just Do It If we wait to feel thankful before we are, we may never utter a word of thanks. I’m not sure if I was obeying God’s command or Kelli’s workout instructions, but as the beat started thumping, I started thanking. When we start by stepping into gratitude as an act of obedience we can be confident our emotions will catch up.When we start by stepping into gratitude as an act of obedience we can be confident our emotions will catch up. Click To Tweet
- Start with the Obvious Heaving my leg into the air to the music’s repetitive beat, I’m ashamed to admit I struggled to think of something I was grateful for. Horrified by my “first world” spoilt brat attitude, and with nowhere else to start, I began with the obvious. I thanked God I was healthy enough to work out, I was warm and dry, I had more than enough to eat and a family that loves me. Slowly the negative emotions blinding me to the goodness of my life began to melt away.
- Give Thanks for the Rubble to Discover the Rubies Rightly, our default setting is to give thanks for the beauty that breaks through the ugly reality of life. Whenever life’s overwhelming and we’re struggling with disbelief, or our prayers seem to go unheard, let alone answered, it’s good to just start and begin with the obvious. Like low hanging fruit, it gets us started. But let’s not stop there.
The greatest gifts of gratitude are finding rubies buried in the rubble; true, priceless treasures unearthed when we gratefully examine the broken up, crumbled rubble of life. So much more than the small and obvious, these true gems often lie buried and deep. The greatest gifts of gratitude is finding rubies buried in the rubble; true, priceless treasures unearthed when we gratefully examine the broken up, crumbled rubble of life. Click To TweetWe may need to dig or wait for them to surface, but when something beautiful breaks, there’s always beauty to be found in the shattered pieces. When something beautiful breaks, there’s always beauty to be found in the shattered pieces. Click To Tweet
Can we give thanks for the broken relationship, the scary diagnosis or the job loss? By giving thanks in all things we begin to sift through the rubble, acknowledging God’s sovereignty and love for us, His grace and mercy, allowing His treasures and gifts to glisten in the sunlight.
So dear friend, wherever you’re at today can I encourage you, however you feel, to give thanks in all things. Just start, begin with the obvious, and then give thanks for the rubble to discover the rubies. I pray that this Thanks Giving holiday, you’ll see the priceless rubies in your life and be filled with hope and anticipation of all God has for you in the coming year.
Happy Thanks Giving Friends. If you eat too much turkey Kelli will work it off!
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