One Practice That Shapes You Into A Thankful Person

Keith KettenringBible Insights, Christian Living, The Uncommon Journey

The practice of giving thanks for all things continues to mystify me. I am still learning and therefore inconsistent – like yesterday when I honked at a guy who stopped his Lexus in front of me in the flow of traffic. I didn’t even think to say, “Thank you.” Yet, I’d like to invite you to journey me in this effort. You are invited to radically give thanks for ALL things. 

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In obedience to Ephesians 5.20 — giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ — and taking this verse literally, develop a thankful heart.

Here’s the practice: Say “Thank you” for everything you see and experience.


  1. Resist the temptation to analyze the thing or experience – “This is worth being thankful for; this is not.” Don’t classify or evaluate. Just say “Thank you.”
  2. Resist the temptation to add an outcome to the thing or experience – Thank you for ________ because ___________. Just say “Thank you.” For example: You might want to say, “Thank you for the rain because it makes the veggies grow.” No! Just say “Thank you for the rain.” This removes your attempt to be in charge and control outcomes.


As I drove to a appointment a while ago, I did this. I thanked God for everything I saw whether I liked it or not. “Thank you for this truck. Thank you for these keys. Thank you for this driveway and home. Thank you for the sunshine and clouds. Thank you for my neighbors. Thank you for the squirrel (tough one). Thank you for the stop sign. Thank you for this winding road. Thank you for the 55 speed limit (tough). Thank you for the hunger I feel. Thank you for the person I’m meeting. Thank you for the long line (tough). Thank you for the unhappy clerk (tough). Thank you for the cigarette in his hand (really tough). Thank you for the barking dogs (tough). Thank you for the smell of food. Thank you for this drink. Thank you for a successful meeting. Thank you for these cars that keep coming at me. Thank you for that school, post office, church, signal light, gas station, slow driver, two lane road, hill, silence, and life. Thank you for your goodness and beauty. Thank you for a safe trip.”

This occurred in approximately 2 hours. When I got home from the appointment, I had a deep sense of peace, joy, and contentment way beyond the usual. Saying thank you for ALL things did something in me that shaped my heart and perspective.

Saying “Thank you” will transform you into being a thankful person. 


The hardest things for which to say “thank you” are those that aggravate and upset you. Thank you for President-elect Trump. Thank you for President Obama. Thank you for my headache. Thank you for this (pitiful) paycheck. Thank you for broken air conditioning. Thank you for this slow traffic. Thank you for my unruly child/grandchild. Thank you for this boring sermon. Thank you for this (stupid) conversation. Thank you for this poorly prepared food. Thank you for my spouse’s insensitivity. Thank you for this lazy employee. Thank you for people who love guns/hate guns. Thank you for that person who ignores me. Thank you for this flat tire. Thank you that my team lost. Thank you for my struggles – childhood and current.


When you practice saying “Thank you” for ALL things, you:

  • train yourself to accept difficult situations that arise in your life with calm, compassion, and grace.
  • learn to place relationships above issues.
  • begin to understand that what you think is “bad” for you is for your good.
  • find love and joy replacing anger, impatience, frustration, and judgmentalism.
  • sort out the things you have from the things you want.

Will you accept this invitation and begin to say “Thank you” for ALL things? Share your experiences below. 

Dr. K