How to find thankfulness and joy when you're running on empty.

How do I find thankfulness and joy when I’m running on empty?

How to find thankfulness and joy when you're running on empty.

How do I find thankfulness and joy when I’m running on empty?

by Julie Loos

I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” John 15:11 [NIV]

Thanksgiving was here. And honestly, thankfulness was the furthest thing from my mind.

I had family around me, good food to eat and a roof over my head, but it had been a long, tough season. Everything inside of me was reeling from a place of hurt. The pain was prolonged, and gratitude was hard to muster up.

That day, I smiled my way through and mimicked everyone’s festive mindset, but it wasn’t the way I really felt.

How do you choose thankfulness and joy when inside there is only a feeling of emptiness?

Four Truths about God and My Feelings:
1. God is faithful.
2. He never changes.
3. Feelings will constantly change.
4. My feelings will confuse, twist and lie to me.

How do I find thankfulness and joy when I'm running on empty?The holidays can be tough. Especially when you are struggling. The truth is, tough seasons will continually come here on Earth. We are promised to experience them in the Bible.

These seasons strengthen our faith, and cause us to be refined like Jesus. God has pre-filtered out what we will experience and learn in these seasons. He’s making us the best we can be.

It’s easy to practice joy and thankfulness when we are elated at life, but it’s faith-building when we display it in the midst of the mess.

Thankfulness and joy are choices. We have to choose to experience them. It’s deliberate action on our part. We can practice these expressions even when we don’t feel like it inside.

Thankfulness and joy are choices. We have to choose to experience them. –Tweet this!

We find our ability to display these fruits of the Spirit when we are in a daily, intimate connection with our Savior. The close encounter we build will help us traverse the great seasons, and the seasons that stink.

We will find a joy for living and a thankfulness that surpasses all the chaos and sinking lows.

Father- Thank you for being accessible to me. You offer a relationship with me whenever I want. Please help me become so intertwined with you, that I can step through whatever season comes my way. Help me find joy and thankfulness when I don’t feel it inside. You are so good, and you make my life better! In Jesus’ name. Amen!


Meet Julie:

Julie Loos is the mom of 5 kids, and has been happily married to Greg for 17 years. She loves to read, eat chocolate, drink iced tea and spend time writing in the midst of messes. You can find her blog at

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14 thoughts on “How do I find thankfulness and joy when I’m running on empty?

  1. Dawn Boyer says:

    Joy is a choice that is so closely connected to thankfulness, isn’t it? And it is so easy to let that slip by us. We teach our children the consequences of their decisions and sometimes we, (and I mean ‘I’) forget that the consequence…the good one… of choosing joy is that gratitude rises and we are changed to see things in a whole new perspective.
    Thanks for sharing this at the #GraceMoments Link up last week!

  2. Horace Williams Jr. says:

    A cornucopia of goodness here Julie. Thankfulness and joy are choices we must make each in each day. Our salvation in Christ is the greatness reason of all. We must focus on living by faith and not our feelings. Do so allows us to live with a joyful and thankful heart. Thank you for sharing your heart and giving us something to ponder. I hope you have a wonderful weekend and may God bless you and yours.

  3. Laura Longville says:

    While Thanksgiving’s have been filled with death, arguments, busyness and more unsettling feelings; I appreciate the purpose. Thanksgiving reminds me to find gratitude in my day. Gratitude is the antidote to so many feelings. It doesn’t mean I ignore the pain, gratitude helps me see God’s goodness. Looking forward to another Thanksgiving.

  4. KellyRBaker says:

    There are so many good nuggets here, Julie. I agree that we can make a choice. And if we are falling short, get back to that daily time with God, and make the choice anew.

    Hi, Kelly! 🙂

  5. adaughtersgiftoflove says:

    Honestly, I never cared for Thanksgiving. I had these lovely dinners pictured where everyone gathered around and were thankful, I guess that was my ideal. Even being with family I felt left out, it was frantic, food, dishes. And almost like see you next year. But the Lord let me keep my ideal Thanksgiving and I work on it by being thankful everyday and not letting anyone cheat you out of your joy, even family.

    • Unmasking the Mess says:

      Joanne- God tends to direct my writing on the issues I’m working out. I don’t choose wisely most days, but I can’t complain that I don’t feel them if I don’t choose them.

  6. Kaitlin Garrison says:

    Oh, I sure needed this reminder this
    Morning. You hit the nail on the head: these are things we CHOOSE. And I needed to be reminded to make that choice today even though it *surely* isn’t natural 🙂 Great post Julie!

    • Unmasking the Mess says:

      Kaitlin- It definietely isn’t natural and I fight against it hard most days. My bad attitude seems to trump, but if acknowledging it leads me to making better choices, I’m all for it. Making small steps here.

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