How Can I Be Grateful When I Don’t Feel Grateful?

by Lysa TerKeurst November 30, 2023
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34 (NIV)

Sometimes being grateful means choosing to see what is instead of being blinded by what isn’t.

It’s a tough choice in some moments. Brutal, actually. But it’s worth fighting through.

The last couple of years have been no walk in the park for me. I still have days where what’s missing in my life feels like a huge, gaping hole. Everywhere I look, it feels like the hole is in the center of my vision.

But then I’m faced with a choice. I can stare deep into the hole, or I can direct my gaze away from that hole and refocus on something else, like rolling out cookie dough with my granddaughters. I can pause to admire their precious faces and this priceless moment right in front of me. When I do this, I’m once again reminded that there is so much more to this one incredible life than the sum total of our heartbreak.

And the same is true for you, friend.

No matter what we’ve been going through lately, we can thank God for the gift of this day. Because here’s what I’m learning: God gives us today grace.

Look at the words of Matthew 6:34 with me: “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

In my Bible, the heading above Matthew 6:25-34 also says, “Do Not Worry.” It’s no coincidence to me that this verse, the last verse of this entire section, warns us against looking to tomorrow. It’s almost like the writer is communicating, This is the last thing I want you to remember. Take hold of these words.

As I’ve personally reflected on these verses, I’ve realized that where I sometimes get in trouble with this whole idea of gratitude is when I try to carry today’s stress with tomorrow’s worry and the fear of six months from now … all with today’s grace. That’s when it all feels like too much to bear.

It’s not that we don’t want to plan for the future and be discerning about how to handle what’s next responsibly. That’s wise and good. It’s just that we don’t want to become so stressed, fearful and full of anxiety about tomorrow that we miss the grace and goodness of this beautiful day.

You might say, “Lysa, how do I know God will give me grace for tomorrow?” I’m so glad you asked. Look at 1 Peter 5:10-11: “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen” (NIV).

See, friend? He is “the God of all grace.” Not some of it. All of it. So knowing this, we can receive both the grace and the gifts of today without missing one minute of its unexpected treasure. We can celebrate every bit of joy that is waiting to be found. We can choose to believe that gratitude isn’t something we have access to only when our lives are perfect. No, choosing gratitude right in the middle of what’s hard isn’t denial. It is choosing to do only what can be done today.

And since today is what we’ve been given, we can enjoy the mess. Receive the blessing. Dance it out at least one time. Fill in the gaps with prayer. And make it a goal to go to bed with smiles on our faces.

And then tomorrow, we can choose it all over again.

Dear Lord, You made me. You know me. I need Your help when I am weak. Help me see that even the smallest moments really do contain opportunities for gratitude. Give me the courage and the grace to do what pleases You. I want to do Your will and experience more of You in this season. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.




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1 Peter 5:7, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (NIV).

What anxieties surrounding tomorrow can you hand over to God today? We’d love to hear from you! Share your thoughts in the comments.

© 2023 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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