Sometimes It’s Hard To Be Thankful

I’m not thankful.

There it is. Not thankful. I’m not thankful that in the beginning when God created Earth that he let sin and depravity in. But I am thankful that God gave up his only Son Jesus to die on the cross and be the remedy for sin. John 3:16

I’m not thankful for the abuse and sadness in the world, but I’m thankful for all the kindness of many individuals who come together and passionately combat all that is abuse in support of the victims.

I’m not thankful that there is incredible poverty and days are dark for so many populations, but I am thankful that no one has to suffer spiritual poverty. John 8:12 Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

I’m not thankful that I was a stubborn and selfish kid who didn’t appreciate my parents, but I am thankful that my parents loved the Lord and through his grace, they loved and cared for me anyway.

I’m not thankful that I married too young and raised my children while I was a child myself, but I’m thankful that despite all my failings as a parent, my children still think I’m pretty special and include me in their lives.

I’m not thankful for illnesses that take loved ones from us before we’re ready to let go. I wasn’t ready to let my oldest daughter go, but I’m thankful that Tammie had given her heart to Jesus and when she passed from this life God welcomed her into his kingdom where her suffering ended. I’m thankful for that.

I’m not thankful for war that wounds everyone emotionally and physically devastates us with loss of lives. I’m not thankful that war kills innocent men and women. I am thankful that God is in control and covers all our wounds and fills our empty places until he comes back to Earth and annihilates war forever.

I’m not thankful for the many times I disappoint people and let them down, but I am thankful that in those times God sends angels to pick me up, dust me off, and give me another chance.

I’m not thankful that life is fraught with confusion and doubt, but I am thankful that Romans 8:6 says I have a choice: The mind controlled by the sinful nature is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.

I’m not thankful that it took me so long to realize that what I put in my head, finds its way to my heart, and makes me the way I am for good or for bad. But I am thankful that in God’s divine providence he finally got through to me and gave me that insight before I was too old to act on it. Proverbs 4:23 “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

Today is just another day, but it is a day to live in the “Splendor of God’s holiness” Psalm 29:2, knowing that He is in control. He forgives me when I am unthankful. He puts a new song in my heart so I can live my life with a thankful spirit and in joy. Let us start today on the path of ThanksLiving.

Every day, on a piece of paper and in my journal, I write something I am thankful for. Then I fold the paper and add it to my joy jar. I can always think of more than one thing to be thankful for every day. The best way to find joy in life is to look for the good in every day and live with an attitude of gratitude. Don’t save it for just the Thanksgiving season. Take time to be thankful every day. That is real ThanksLiving.


Jane Anderson
Jane Anderson
JANE’s professional experience is scattered across industries from financial services and insurance to engineering and manufacturing. Jane sees her background in writing and editing website content as the foundation to her current love of social media. Being an avid reader, meticulous note taker and lifelong learner has fostered her natural pursuit of sharing her world through writing. Reading books and summarizing content started as a hobby and has since grown to be a major part of her vocational experience. Jane says, “Authors pour their heart and soul into writing their book. When I write a review, it’s with intent to celebrate the book and promote the author.” Jane claims to be 'the best follower you'll ever want to meet' and has been repeatedly called servant leader, eternal cheerleader, social media evangelist, and inspirational go-to person. Jane is a contributing author to the inspiring book Chaos to Clarity: Sacred Stories of Transformational Change.


  1. That was a powerful punch line, Jane and I fully understand the sentiments you expressed in your wonderful article. Yes…….. most times we are NOT thankful despite the many blessings that have been showered upon us.

    You gave us food for thought in that when you said, I am not thankful for…. I am sure there are 101 reasons to simply question the why’s and wherefore’s and express “unthankfulness”… but as you so brilliantly explained….in these instances of not being thankful / unthankfulness, we can see a unique opportunity to go beyond the whys and wherefores and appreciate the many wonderful things that we can be thankful for, the many times we CAN make a small difference in millions of ways.

    Gratitude, unlike thankfulness, is a deliberate practice.

    According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, thankful and grateful are synonymous with the exception of two operative words. It defines thankful as “conscious of benefits received” while defining grateful as “appreciative of benefits received.” I think the difference between “conscious” and “appreciative” signifies that we experience thankfulness and gratitude for others in different ways.

    In my work here in India, I voice my gratitude, rather than thankfulness, to the people who have extended me a favor or service. Traditional “thank yous” are so easily said, but I have made it a habit to express Gratitude. A simple “I am so grateful for you” opens up unique opportunities to minister the why’s I am grateful. It is a blessing in itself.

    • Jonathan, thank you for sharing that gratitude and thankfulness are different. I had no idea, but when I write thank you cards, I say I am grateful for them and then I thank them for the gift or whatever I am thanking them for. I will keep this in mind and be even more zealous about expressing gratitude and saying thank you. I had a long conversation with a gentleman in our church who had once been homeless. Do you know the one thing he said rescued him from his condition? He said one day he decided to change his attitude to gratitude and find something to be grateful for every day. Over time he kicked alcohol, got a job, and eventually even married – when he was already in his 50s. He died or a heart attack, but he lived grateful for 15 years and changed his life. He also found the Lord and that changed everything for him, but he started by deciding to be grateful.