How to Give Thanks When You Don’t Feel Like It + FREE Summit Today

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How to Give Thanks

Have you ever found yourself in a pothole of discouragement or disappointment, wondering how to give thanks when you don’t feel like it?

A few Susie Sunshines fill my world. They smile and offer an upbeat attitude to every pitch and unexpected curve ball thrown at them. And gosh, I sometimes wish that were me–especially when disappointment or discouragement hits.

But it’s not.

God made you to be you. And He made me to be me, and goodness, we are works in progress. And His strength? It casts sunshine on our gray.

It’s normal to face disappointment or discouragement.

But whether we journey with it or Jesus makes a daily difference.

God hasn’t called us to offer discouraging remarks or disappointing reports. He has called us to sit, stand, and walk with thanksgiving, even in tough circumstances.

Fall leaves on steps with 1 Thes. 5:18 WEB on overlay

Sounds easy. Check. Reality, however, assures a battle of God-sized proportions, so why not battle with His strength?

Not long ago, I faced a ripple of disappointment. Soon after, a huge, old wave of discouragement hit. Truth be told, those are the times when I feel weak, lackluster, embarrassed, even “less than.” I consider pulling into my shell, shying away from the solution and straight into the pity of my problem.

It’s a battle, and who wants to broadcast it to the world that we’re struggling? I’ve learned, however, that pulling the covers off darkness is the best way to begin the battle against it. And often, that means allowing others to come alongside us in prayer and support.

(Read more about that lesson here.

So I pulled off those covers and shared the struggle with a circle of girlfriends. They stood alongside me with encouragement and prayer. Even more so, God surrounded us with His victory.

That’s our Father.

God grants us victory with and through His strength.

I’m convinced thanksgiving is one of those strong devices the Lord offers for overcoming disappointment and discouragement. Amid my bout, He offered a new glimpse on how to give thanksgiving when the “feels” simply remain absent.

Give Thanks Backward


Backward thanks.

When we look backward, we find thankfulness.

What one thing, person, or circumstance from yesterday are you thankful for?

Then repeat it tomorrow.

And the next day. And the next day. And the next.

It works.

Why Give Thanks Backward

There’s always something to thank God for. (Gosh, that sounds like something our moms would say to us, doesn’t it?!)

So today, my friend, I encourage you to grab yesterday’s opportunity for thanks. Set it as an offering to God, allowing thanks to glorify Him and grow you.

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Wiggle past that disappointment and discouragement attempting to wrestle you to the ground, and pick up the provision of God. I’m right there with you, wiggling, too.

Action Steps for Giving Thanks:

I started giving thanks backward recently. The Lord used those thank offerings to help me step up and out of the wave of discouragement. Will you join me, putting action behind the unction?

  • Note your backward thanks in a journal.
  • Tell someone.
  • Recite it out loud to God (“God, I thank you for…”)
  • List your thanks in the comments below.
  • Jot it on a paper and put it in a coffee mug or container.


However we handle it, God instilled in us the ability to simply give thanks…even when we don’t feel like it. And goodness, it proves wonders for a girl’s heart.


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I’m thankful for you, reader. Make certain to visit the Subscriber-Only Library (password is in your latest “3” Connection Newsletter, in case you’ve forgotten) for a free “thanks” download.

I thank my God for you.

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Worst Parent in the World?

Ever feel like the worst parent in the world? It happens. Parenting is hard work, isn’t it?! Check out this Crosswalk piece for encouragement in the parenting journey, for times when you feel like the worst parent in the world.

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  1. Kristi, what a great idea! Asking the question, “what one thing, person, or circumstance from yesterday are you thankful for?” everyday would be the perfect way to start our day because then we would have an attitude of gratitude the rest of the day.

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Oh how the enemy delights in discouraging us. One of his best weapons. Looking back at what God has done and how far he’s brought us is hugely encouraging though. So glad you are seeing the truth of who you are in Christ and what he has for you!

  3. Giving thanks backwards! I realized today that I’ve been kind of distracted from Thanksgiving, which has been my favorite holiday. I think it’s the fact that we’re thinking about our upcoming move maybe? Or I have an empty nest? Not sure why, but I read something beautiful on Michele Morin’s blog: she said to think back on the year and give God thanks for the blessings AND for the disappointments. Because He has a plan in both!

    1. Yes, moves will lasso our thoughts, that’s for certain. I like Michele’s thoughts on looking back on the year. Thanks for sharing them, Betsy, and best wishes on the move!

  4. Hi Kristi … I love that we can be totally honest with God and tell Him how hard it is to be thankful. Instead of pretending, we’re freed up to become grateful, because He is so safe and loving and kind.

    All those blessings begin to overflow … and we begin to speak them one by one …

  5. Such truth here. I was recently talking with a friend about how grumpy I felt over a certain situation in my life, and we reminded each other how we need to praise God through our grumpiness in order to focus on Him and the joy He brings. Your post reminds me of this. Thank you!