How To Be Grateful When You Don’t Feel Like It

November 14, 2017 | 9 comments

It was “Takk for Alt” at our little country church in rural Iowa.

“Takk for alt” is Norwegian for “thanks for everything,” and this has long been the tradition at our 125-year-old church, where gray-haired farmers share pews with diapered babies and their mamas. Every November, around Thanksgiving, we celebrate the annual tradition with a Sunday meal.

But before the catered dinner, we always feast on Word and Sacrament.

So there we were, packed into our small sanctuary. And there I was, trembling at the pulpit to deliver a few words. Our pastor had asked if I would share something I had recently written about gratitude.

So I stood there, nervously reading from a Post-it Note, about what it might mean to be thankful in all things.

“Be thankful in all things. All Things,” I read from my notes. “That’s what the Bible says. All things. Not just the smiling things and the wished-for things. The Bible says be thankful in all things. Even the hard things, the grotesque things, the things never-wanted, the things of death and grief and pain and sorrow that make you wonder if you can stand to live another day. How to be thankful like that? Is it really possible for a mortal to be thankful in all things? ‘In everything give thanks,’ Paul wrote. He didn’t say to be thankful for all things. But he absolutely said to be thankful in all things. I want to be able to do that—just as Christ did when He lifted the bread, broke it, and gave thanks, saying, ‘This is my body, given for you.’”

Sure, we celebrate Takk for Alt year after year, this thankfulness for everything.

But what if Takk for Alt were only a nice catch-phrase, a reason to share a catered meal as a church family? And what if Thanksgiving Day were just an excuse to eat turkey and Mom’s stuffing before taking a tryptophan-induced nap in front of the television? What if Thanksgiving were merely another day off, conveniently timed to set up the Christmas tree and find the ceramic nativity set in a cardboard box somewhere down by the furnace?

When we say we give thanks, do we really mean we give thanks only for good things? Or, like our Savior on the night He was betrayed, could we really give thanks in all things, every single day?

What happened next was a terrific lesson in how to be grateful even when you don’t feel like it. 

Read more by clicking here. I’m the featured writer on the Tyndale House Publishers blog, sharing, “How to Be Grateful When You Don’t Feel Like It.” 


Hey Tell His Story crew! It is a joy to gather here every week with you. The linkup goes live each Tuesday at 4 p.m. (CT). If you would use the badge on your blog, found here, that would be great! And if you would visit at least one other blogger in the link-up and encourage them with a comment, that would be beautiful! Be sure to check the sidebar later. I’ll be featuring one of you over there!

Our featured writer this week is Theresa Boedeker. With Thanksgiving approaching soon, I’m thinking a lot about choosing gratitude and words of thanks. Theresa’s post about how our words matter is an important reminder during the holiday season! Find Theresa here.

To be considered as our featured writer, be sure to use our badge or a link to my blog from your post. xo Jennifer


by | November 14, 2017 | 9 comments


  1. Susan

    I’m enjoying the November “happiness dare” – we have an overflow of things to be grateful for!

  2. Jerri Miller

    Such good words, Jennifer! Yes, we can be thankful IN everything, even if it is hard to be thankful FOR everything.

    Love the Takk for Alt tradition! ~ Jerralea

  3. Lisa Appelo @True and Faithful

    So many yesses. I think it’s only in the hard, when there is so much to be grateful for, that we really learn what thanksgiving is.

  4. Theresa Boedeker

    Oh it would be sad if Thanksgiving was only another day. How much sadder and self focused our lives would be without this reminder to stop and give thanks. To count our blessings over the last year. Thanks for the honor of being featured.

  5. JeanneTakenaka

    Jennifer, this was beautiful. Though it’s easy to be thankful when life goes smoothly, we must choose to be thankful in the difficult seasons. Thanks for the reminder that it’s GOOD to choose to find things we can thank God for in the hard times.

    LOVED this post!

  6. Rebecca

    Clicked over to read the post and I loved it! Commented there 🙂

  7. Rachel Lee

    Jennifer, what a beautiful testimony of thanksgiving (even in the hard). I’ve been meditating on this very thing all week long, and I don’t think I could have expressed my feelings on this subject any better than you have! Thank you for sharing this.
    I love it when spontaneous praise erupts from the mouths of people in the everyday hard, and God is given glory. Can’t you just hear satan’s confusion and frustration?!
    I appreciate how you pointed out the difference between giving thanks FOR all things, and giving thanks IN all things. It may seem subtle, but really, it’s huge!
    Really loved this!

  8. Sherry Thecharmofhome

    Thanks for hosting!



  1. Gratitude: When There Are Expectations – Jeanne Takenaka - […] week, I’m linking up with #RaRaLinkup, Jennifer Dukes Lee, and Holley […]
  2. Your Purpose Is Not Lost - Pursuing What Is Excellent - […] Jennifer Lee Dukes, #RaRaLinkups, Coffee For Your Heart […]
  3. Silence Calls, but Do We Listen? - Words, Photos and Art - […] I’m linking up with: #FiveMinuteFriday, #FreshMarketFriday, #Glimpses, #MomentsofHope, #LMMLinkup, #TrekkingThru, #TeaAndWord, #TellHisStory […]
  4. Dark:Thirty Pray in the Darkness - […] Jennifer Dukes Lee […]
  5. Everyday gifts | Stray Thoughts - […] with Inspire Me Monday, Literary Musing Monday, Glimpses, Tell His Story, Coffee For Your Heart, Porch […]
  6. THE GIFT THAT GIVES BACK: FAZL SOCKS - Laura Thomas Author - […]      […]
  7. Hope in the Dark - […] is Good, Fresh Start, Pinventures, Home Stories A to Z, Jessi’s Design, Oh My Heartsie Girl, Jennifer Dukes Lee,…

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Pin It on Pinterest