Breed Contentment and Joy in the Ruts of Life

Have you found yourself giving thanks in the ruts of life?


If so, congratulations! You’re making significant strides in the gratitude department– something we should all strive for.

I get the importance of begin thankful. I’ve been intentional about teaching this concept to my children, and I’ve exercised the public display of gratitude myself.

Yet deep down, despite my proclamations to the contrary, I haven’t always been thankful.

Now, I’m typically a “glass half full” kind of gal, but sometimes those ruts run so stinking deep, I struggle with getting out of them or giving thanks in them. 

Today, I’d like to encourage you that you don’t need to be a lifetime optimist to learn how to give thanks in even the holes and precipices of life.

Being thankful is a process we can learn. We can develop a habit of looking for the silver lining in all things.

In the words of Ann Voskamp, “While I may not always feel joy, God asks me to give thanks in all things, because He knows that the feeling of joy begins in the action of thanksgiving.” (One Thousand Gifts).

Now, notice, neither Ann nor myself said give thanks for everything. Obviously, some things are not good in and of themselves.

A son rejecting his parents, cancer, a devastating storm, a shooting in a school. These are not good, but good can come from them and is found in and around them. We often don’t know the extent of the silver lining. But God has promised that

“in all things [He] works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

As the storms come and those ruts cut deeper, it may seem impossible to find anything positive about them. However, as you shoulder on, look for that glint of silver in the otherwise drab landscape.

You will likely find the rut isn’t as deep as it first looked. More importantly, you will develop an “eye” for spotting God’s goodness.

Living thanks … a habit that will breed contentment and joy in all circumstances.

Living thanks ... a habit that will breed contentment and joy in all circumstances. Click To Tweet

Reflections: Is there one glint of light you’ve noticed in an otherwise deep rut in your life—even a tiny gift of good? Let’s fill the comments with words of gratitude. 

One Thousand Gifts book coverSorry this giveaway is over! This is my last GIVEAWAY of the month. It has been an honor to be gifting so many articles of encouragement and inspiration, and I’m überexcited to be offering more products from Ann Voskamp for this giveaway. This time I’m giving away the audio version of Ann’s book One Thousand Gifts as well as the personal journal. Follow the options in the Rafflecopter for multiple entries. The Giveaway will be open until Sunday midnight.

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By His grace ≈


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Photo by: Richard Webb [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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Find hope in your real-life struggles. We'll chase it together! I am a wife; mom of 4 (including a young adult daughter with special needs); miscarriage mom of 5; author & follower of Jesus Christ. I write, edit, speak and enjoy everything outdoors.

9 comments on “Breed Contentment and Joy in the Ruts of Life
  1. Rachel B says:

    Hey Julie! Great post. Thanks for sharing…reminding me to give thanks in the ruts. One time that could have been a deep rut was when I lost our baby Faith to miscarriage (my 3rd miscarriage). It was hard, to say the least. But I kept my eyes on my Loving Father and saw how good He was to us through that difficult time. He used our loss in so many ways. And I thanked Him repeatedly for that. I still don’t understand, but I trust Him. ((HUG)) Rachel

  2. Joyce says:

    Giving thanks today for an answer to a long standing prayer!! Thank you Lord for your mercies which are new every morning!

  3. Tracy says:

    Hi Julie, love this post. I too have been trying to give thanks more, especially in the times when I least feel like it. And I find when something happens that is such a waste of time or was really unnecessary, I have started to consider, “well God must have had a reason for that, so I will try to swallow my annoyance and trust His purpose, whatever it is” does that make sense? Thank you for linking up on Winsome Wednesday and I look forward to seeing you there again next week.
    God bless

  4. My husband and children continually make me aware of how thankful I am. I can not imagine what my life would have been like if God did not send them to me. I never expected them and just waking up every day to see their faces is what I am most thankful for.

  5. Sharon K says:

    In a recent illness that took me by surprise, my husband carefully attended to my needs and encouraged me to lay low so I could regain my strength. What a good God to give me such a sweet husband!

  6. Maryann says:

    When I was diagnosed with cancer 4 years ago, at first the doctors were not too hopeful for how things would turn out. My husband and I knew we are in the hands of the Great Physician. This week I just celebrated my 4 year cancerversary! God is good!

    I also follow you by e mail but somehow the form would not take that entry.

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