How to be Grateful When Life Grates

Have you ever been grating a vegetable or cheese and gotten slightly distracted for a split second? All of sudden, you feel the ripping pain as layers of skin are shredded along with your food, blood quickly appearing on the surface. You run to the cold water faucet and press against the wound with a paper towel, but the damage is already done. The nerves frayed. The skin raw.

Sometimes life can feel like that too. We try to prepare, plan, and painstakingly avoid the obstacles that could land us on our backs. Even with all the effort, we can’t always avoid the agony of injury. People will disappoint and reject and mock. Jobs will collapse. So will bank accounts, and health, and dreams. We can’t control disaster. It comes to us all.

Finding joy in the midst of such frustrations or downright tragedy feels impossible. But thankfully, joy isn’t contingent on feelings alone. Joy resides within the stable reality of our God, and He is unchanging, regardless of where our emotions are wavering. To His children, He promises to never leave. To not abandon us. To always love and forgive us. He promises we will find Him if we seek Him. He promises us eternal security, pardon, forgiveness–incredible grace. He promises us a life of peace in the midst of hardship. He promises us victory in the end.

All these things and more are reason enough to rejoice. They should prompt eternal gratitude, even if all of life’s circumstances crumble around us.

We do ourselves a disservice when all we can channel in on is the pain. Through thankfulness, the lens zooms out and we are able to see our problems with more perspective.

We truly have more to be thankful for than complain about.

You probably won’t be popular; we live in a culture that elevates complaining. But we know that our happiness depends on our ability to “give thanks in all circumstances.” So, we make an attempt, and then another….and maybe, just maybe, we develop a habit of gratitude that bubbles over into our hearts as joy.


As my mom says, “There’s always something to be thankful for.” Start there. Join me as we take a month to intentionally thank God for what we have.

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