3 Tips for When You Don’t Feel Grateful

Thanksgiving Day was on the horizon, and there was not one ounce of gratefulness in me. 


Six weeks before, my mom had taken her last breaths on this earth, and I was in the middle of profound grief. How could my heart be grateful when it was a shattered mess? Perhaps you aren’t in the middle of processing loss, but maybe there is another situation that has you feeling discouraged, frustrated, weak, broken, or disengaged.. 


No matter your current situation, it can feel close to impossible to experience gratitude when you’re in a place of difficulty or void. 


Friends, I have learned amid overwhelming situations and shattered hearts, gratefulness can still abound. But please know, I share these things with you from the trenches. I still struggle with being grateful. There is so much about my life that I would love to change. However, I know I am commanded in God’s word to “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonian 5:18)


Therefore, it is a heart change that I desire and am willing to work towards gratefulness. I pray these tips usher in healing for your shattered heart and allow you to change your grumpy to grateful.


  1. Allow God to comfort you. I would encourage you to sit with Zephaniah 3:17 for awhile. Meditate on this Scripture and let it bring comfort to your heart.  


The Lord your God is in your midst,

    a mighty one who will save;

he will rejoice over you with gladness;

    he will quiet you by his love;

he will exult over you with loud singing.


God is with you in the midst of overwhelming trials and a shattered heart. He is the one that can save you. Not only that, God rejoices over you, you are His. He sees you, and He sees your discouragement. God quiets your heart with His love. I love to think of God whispering in my ear over and over how much He loves me. God draws you close and sings over you. Imagine climbing up in God’s lap, allowing Him to rock you while He sings songs of comfort over you. His comfort enables our heart to feel grateful again.


  1. Ask God to help you see His fingerprints in your life. This takes some practice and prayer. A heart that is desiring to focus on Him instead of the situation of life will see God moving even in difficult times. His work in our lives is not always the way we would choose for Him to work, but He is still at work. I want God to bring healing into my husband’s life, but instead, God sends praise songs, Scriptures, and others to communicate to me that His strength is perfect in my weakness. It would be easy for me to miss the gifts that God is giving if my mind focuses on how I want God to work. Asking God to help us see, opens our hearts wide to experience Him in a new way.


  1. Choose a time to consistently focus on gratitude. When your heart isn’t feeling grateful, choose a time to consistently and intentionally focus on gratitude. I like to take time to journal three things I’m thankful for each day. Let me be vulnerable for a minute. I couldn’t thank God for taking my mom to be with Him. I can’t thank God that my husband suffers from an unexpected disability. However, there are plenty of reasons I can give Him thanks. I can thank Him for the cool morning. I can thank Him for an unexpected letter of encouragement. I can thank Him for His comfort and care. I can thank Him for what I am learning through grief and disability. The list of what I can give thanks for is innumerable. Instead of focusing on what you can’t give thanks for, turn your focus to what thankfulness you can give. 


I would love to tell you when I am practicing gratefulness my heart feels grateful. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. However, I know something changes in me when I am focused on giving thanks. My attitude changes. However, often, it takes me pushing through what feels religious to get to the place the attitude of my heart softens and changes. Keep persisting, friends. It is possible to be grateful in the midst of not feeling like it’s possible.


Wife Step: Choose one of the three tips to implement in your life today.

Karen lives in Madison, Alabama with her husband and three children. Karen has served as Preschool and Children’s Pastor and has been involved in women’s ministry for many years leading small groups, making hospital visits, organizing retreats, and encouraging the hearts of women. Karen now blogs at Glimpses of Faith and Struggles.  What started out as a way to communicate medical facts has become a place where Karen uses life experiences to encourage others in their life journey.  When she’s not busy caring for her family or writing, you might find her cooking or crafting.

1 Comment

  1. Tiffany Montgomery

    Yes, I can relate. My mom always said, “fake it till you feel it,” and that applies to gratitude. When you don’t feel grateful but you show gratitude anyway it changes your heart.


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