This week only! Save 25% on a PLUS membership with code: FRIDAY

3 Ways to Feel Thankful When You Don’t This Thanksgiving

What if the anxiety over the next news cycle is clouding out the voice that tells me to be thankful? What if I am doubting God’s goodness in the midst of all of this? Let me share something with you.

Author and Podcaster
Published Nov 20, 2023
3 Ways to Feel Thankful When You Don’t This Thanksgiving

This year has been hard. For a lot of people, the typical season of “thankfulness” that comes in November has been a lot harder to grasp this time around.

Anxiety and depression are at an all-time high. Inflation is through the roof. Gas prices limit how far we can travel to see family. Grocery prices mean there are fewer side dishes on the table.

The rumors of wars have turned into actual wars.

And while most people are saying, “We still have so much to be thankful for,” …. I want to be real for a minute.

What if I’m not thankful? What if I don’t want to put on a shallow smile and pretend everything is okay? What if I am scared about what the next year will hold?

What if the anxiety over the next news cycle is clouding out the voice that tells me to be thankful? What if I am doubting God’s goodness in the midst of all of this?

Let me share something with you.

It’s okay.

It’s okay to be mad at God. It’s okay to be confused by what’s going on. It’s okay to be scared about tomorrow. It’s okay… on one condition: that you share all those feelings with God.

You see, God is a big God. And He already knows what’s in your heart. He knows the thoughts you think, the feelings you feel, and the words you don’t want to say out loud. He knows.

You have searched me, Lord,  and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it complete (Psalm 139:1-4).

God knows what’s in your heart, and He wants you to bring those thoughts and feelings to Him. We have to remember that God is not just our Father, but He is a good Father. As a good parent, He longs to help us go through every moment of our lives, even the hard ones.

In seasons when our children are scared, one of our roles as parents is to comfort them, reassure them, and help them understand that they are not alone. God wants to do the same thing.

How Can We Feel Thankful When We Don’t?

The only way to get through the hard emotions is to go through them. How do we do that? By taking them to the Lord. By being honest with Him about how we feel, our concerns, and the things that keep us up at night, we are inviting Him into the darkness with us.

The enemy would want us to feel isolated and alone and feel like we can’t be honest with God. He wants there to be unresolved feelings and hidden fears. But Scripture makes it clear that God wants us to bring our anxieties and concerns to Him.

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 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 (1 Peter 5:7-10).

What does the Scripture tell us to do?

1. Take Your Anxieties to God

List them out. Tell God what they are. Scream them if you need to. Being mad and honest with God can be a mark of great faith because it moves us from a place of superficial relationship to a real relationship.

We need to understand that God longs to be with us in those dark spaces because He is the light, which means He is the way out.

2. Be Alert

We have to recognize the reality of what this Scripture tells us. The enemy is prowling around like a hungry lion in our lives, looking to devour us.

He wants us to stay discouraged, isolated, and separated from God. As we pay attention, we can start to recognize the ways that he has been trying to attack us.

3. Stand Firm

Once we realize the tactics of the enemy, we can stand firm against them. We can lean into our relationship with the Lord, knowing that we are not facing this life alone.

I love the reassurance the last part of this Scripture gives us. It says that this tension we feel won’t last forever. God promises that He Himself will restore us after a little while, making us strong, firm, and steadfast. We don’t have to pretend to be strong when we aren’t.

Restoration and strength come from God. And for that? I am so thankful.

For further reading:

How Can We Be Thankful When There Seems to Be Nothing?

7 Lies Women Believe about Hospitality This Thanksgiving

7 Ways to Celebrate Thanksgiving When Your Family Lives Far Away

How to Celebrate Thanksgiving When Giving Thanks Is Hard

20 Scriptures to Reflect on for the Thanksgiving Holiday

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/Drazen Zigic

Rachael GrollRachael Groll is a missionary, a podcaster, and the author of She Hears: Learning to Listen to Jesus. You can listen to more about Matthew 10 on the Hearing Jesus Podcast, What to Do When Others Reject the Gospel: A Devotional Bible Study on Matthew 10:7-15. Read more from Rachael at SHEHEARS.ORG

LISTEN to Our Thanksgiving Podcasts from LifeAudio

The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of Salem Web Network and Salem Media Group.

WATCH: Daily Prayers of Thanksgiving


Christianity / Life / Holidays / 3 Ways to Feel Thankful When You Don’t This Thanksgiving