3 Reasons to have gratitude when you feel ungrateful

My love stretches to the heaven & My faithfulness extends above the clouds   {Psalm 36:5}

During a season when everyone is talking about gratitude, it can be really hard to keep on pretending things are good when your life feels like it is falling apart.  I know this isn’t always the situation, but I have entered plenty of “Thanksgiving” seasons with a heart that wasn’t so thankful.

I told you in my last post about a time when I was so full of sorrow that it was extremely difficult for me to pray & how just going before the Lord in compulsory gratitude began to change my perspective on my difficulty.  Sometimes we are in a difficult season where one or more circumstances in life just aren’t going well which in turn makes it difficult to show any kind of gratitude.  

Deep sadness, brokenness & difficulties are not only exhausting, but they can be debilitating to our ability to find gratitude for anything in our lives.  Unfortunately, when a holiday comes around where the world tells you, “you should be thankful”, it can make it even harder.  But thankfulness starts with a deep understanding of how much we have in Jesus. 

If we try to base our gratitude in anything except Him, we will ultimately be overwhelmed by our circumstances.

Some of us are more apt to feeling down over life’s circumstances.  For years I struggled with severe anxiety & my circumstances could definitely get the best of me which in turn meant everyone else got the worst of me.  I am still susceptible to anxious feelings, but over the years I have learned some ways to manage those emotions that make it easier for me to get out of a ungrateful slump.

When we have gratitude it doesn’t change our circumstances but it does change our heart, which really changes everything. 

If I am facing a difficult relationship but I choose to enter into communication with that person, grateful for how Jesus is shaping my life to look more like His, then I am more likely to respond in a way that destroys division & brings reconciliation.  Or I might possibly just be facing a busy day that is full of a lot of deadlines & events that I must meet & be present at.  Gratitude for having the capability to handle those responsibilities & being able to go into the world as salt & light {Matthew 5:13-16} will change my perspective & allow me to share joy with others.

It has taken time for me to learn how to have the ability to cope with difficulty & have gratitude even when I feel ungrateful.  But remembering these things helps me change my grumbling into gratitude:

He is worthy of our praise ~ I’ve realized that even in the middle of my trials, disappointments & difficulties, God still deserves my praise.  The problem is I don’t want to praise Him when my life isn’t going as planned.  I want to grumble.  But my gratitude can’t be based on my current situation.  It must be based on the fact that I know He loves me & I trust Him to give me strength to endure this life.  He is worthy of my praise even in the middle of hard stuff. {John 16:33, Psalm 145:3

In His presence we find joy ~ If praising God brings us into His presence {Psalm 100:4}, being in His presence gives us joy.  It says directly in the Word, “In your presence is fullness of joy”. This means that when we choose to praise God in spite of our circumstances we will be filled with His joy.  The difference in happiness & joy, is that joy is not circumstantial but is enduring.  When we have the true joy of the Lord, no circumstance can defeat us. {Romans 12:21, Psalm 16:11}

His joy is our strength ~ It is with complete reverence that I can tell you it is God who gets me through life.  I am so easily distracted from His promises of peace, strength & protection & my heart so quickly forgets His past grace.  But planting seeds in my heart though reading His word & talking with Him, allows me to harvest a crop of His joy when times are difficult.  {Nehemiah 8:10, Psalm 28:7}

Where do you need to allow Jesus to be your focus so that you can have gratitude in a difficult situation?


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