HOW TO BE THANKFUL WHEN YOU DON’T FEEL THANKFUL

HOW TO BE THANKFUL WHEN YOU DON’T FEEL THANKFUL

In nearly every retail store around, colorful pumpkins of all sizes hold charming fall table cloths in place. Be Thankful and Give Thanks are beautifully stenciled on them announcing the season that’s upon us.

But, what if you don’t feel very thankful right now?

Yes, we all have something to be thankful for. That’s true. But there are times when mustering the courage to be thankful is in itself something to be thankful for.

For many, this will be their first thanksgiving without a spouse, a child, or a parent. The beautiful store display meant to stir excitement and gratitude, for them, only drums up feelings of dread.

A mother’s only son lives across the country and just called to tell her he wasn’t going to make it home for Thanksgiving after all.

A grandfather with dementia sits in the country’s state of the art Alzheimer’s facility and for one brief moment he remembers. The smell of pumpkin pie that day for dessert triggered a memory of family and friends yet he is surrounded by strangers.

A father holds his newborn child who has been given hours to live.

I’ve been in those dark and lonely places. Places where people or pumpkins tell you to be happy. To be grateful. To give thanks and yet through the focused lens of pain, I couldn’t. Places where people ask how you are but few take time to hear your reply.

If I could go back and tell myself a few things to pierce through that darkness, I would say:

1. WAIT

You are where you are and it is okay to hurt.

Pretending to be happy or thankful when we’re not only leads to feelings of guilt and shame. Christ sees through the facade and meets our hearts right where they are.

2. ADMIT

I know I’m supposed to be thankful, but I’m not.

“I’m not okay.”

Those are tough words for me to say but without acknowledging them, I’ll never move past them.

Decorative pumpkins aren’t the only place we’re instructed to give thanks. We’re commanded to do so in God’s word. Daily. That makes this an important issue for me to work through even in times when my vision is skewed and I don’t feel thankful.

3. ASK

I want to be thankful but I can’t see past what is missing right now. Please help me God.

Ask simply. Ask honestly. Be vulnerable enough to ask God to give you a thankful heart even in the midst of your pain.

At best, my own gratitude is fleeting. If I don’t ask God to give me a heart of genuine thankfulness I wont have one.

Can you think of other ways we can encourage one another to be thankful when we don’t feel like it?

Have you ever experienced this? Comment below! I’d love to hear from you!

There are times when mustering the courage to be thankful is in itself something to be thankful for. Click To Tweet You are where you are and it is okay to hurt. Click To Tweet

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Featured Image Photo Credit: http://www.incourage.me/2012/10/give-thanks-pumpkin-tutorial.html

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13 Replies to “HOW TO BE THANKFUL WHEN YOU DON’T FEEL THANKFUL”

  1. Thank you Callie, for your open heart. This will be my first Thanksgiving without my precious Mother. She passed away on Good Friday, April 14 this year. She was a wonderful Mother and I was so thankful to have had her for my Mother. She was 95 and had dementia the last 3 1/2 years of her life. It was not an easy journey but I learned more about God’s wonderful Grace, His Love, and Compassion for us. Love you…Janice

    1. Oh Janice, I can only imagine how you must miss her and this holiday season I pray that the wonderful grace and love you intimately know in Christ will be made even deeper. I love you so much and thank you for sharing you heart too.

  2. Thank you dear Callie, as always your words are touching and thought provoking! To quote my kids when another’s heart shows in their lives, “God did a great job making you!”

  3. I’ve definitely struggled with being thankful. Yet, I’m reminded that the pilgrims on the first thanksgiving were thankful in the midst of tremendous hardship. I don’t think it’s a problem to be open and honest with God about our lack of thankfulness and I truly believe that if we let him, he can help our hearts to change.

  4. Wonderful, practical, beautifully written post. Oh how well I know the difficulties in finding reasons to be thankful when life feels bleak and black. But our God is faithful. His abiding presence alone is reason to sing with joy! I love the gentle, transparent way you teach!

  5. I look to everything I can find for strength these days…your words are like a melody to my heart! The things you post are as if you posted it just for me. Thank you for helping me find focus my precious girl!

  6. Thank you, Callie for this insightful read. It comes at the most appropriate time since our family is dealing with the recent passing of my mother-in-Law. We just had funeral services last week, so we are still processing what has happened. But your reminders to be honest and be ok with where I am helps so much. God knows all anyway, so why pretend. We just have to lean on Him. And be thankful that He is our ever present Help.

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