Gratitude can be life-changing in chronic

“Gratitude to the Maker of all can be life-changing, especially when life is full of the challenges often brought on by chronic illness.” Kara Plett


Do you remember playing Truth or Dare as a kid? Well, I recently accepted a dare! Not from anyone I know, but from One Thousand Gifts (A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are), written by Ann Voskamp. In this book, the author encourages the reader to “intentionally embrace a lifestyle of radical gratitude: and slow down and catch God in each moment.”


We all know that gratitude is good (Even brain research tells us this), but gratitude to the Maker of all can be more than good. Such gratitude can be life-changing, especially when life is full of the challenges often brought on by chronic illness. It can be difficult to find things to be grateful for – or even to want to see those things. I love this quote from the book:

“One act of thanksgiving, when things go wrong with us, is worth a thousand thanks when things are agreeable to our inclinations.” (Saint John of Avila)


“So, what is the dare?” you might ask. It is to pay attention and keep a list of all the things I can thank God for – in this case, a list that reaches 1000 everyday things (one idea and then another and another) for which I’m thankful. It’s about intentionally stopping to see the blessings God is lavishing on me and naming them.

“Seeing is, of course, very much a matter of verbalization. I WON’T SEE IT unless I call my attention to what passes before my eyes.” (Annie Dillard)

So, as I’ve taken on the dare, I stop – stop and see what God is doing in the smallest of things:

  • the sun hitting the trees.
  • crunchy toast.
  • a hug from my niece.
  • laughing with my mom.
  • time to rest.

I stop to intentionally recognize the blessing of each of these things, knowing that if I don’t, I will miss them. In thanking the One who gave them to me, I find that my thankfulness and enjoyment increase.

“I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation.” (C.S. Lewis)


How am I doing? Well, I’m about halfway there. Today I wrote down my 995th item. Gratitude has become a habit each morning – a discipline. It’s making a difference in my days and how I catch God loving me in small moments.

“…so count the ways He loves, a thousand, more, never stop, that when you wake each morning you can’t help turn humbly to the east, unfold your hands to the heavens, and though you tremble and though you wonder, though the world is ugly, it is beautiful – and you can slow, and you can trust, and you can receive each moment as grace.” (Ann Voskamp)

Chronic Joy has some great resources to help you practice gratitude. Take a look at Discovering Gratitude and Gratitude Journal as wonderful ways to get started.


Father, you designed us with the full awareness that gratitude to You would change our lives. Help us to step into the dare to live fully with You as we recognize the ways You love us. Thank You for the beautiful ways You bless us each day. In Jesus’ name, amen.


  • Which quote in this devotional rings true to you?
  • Would you like to try this “counting God’s gifts” dare?
  • Can you list five things to thank God for today?
Yellow Bubbles
Kara Plett

Kara Plett

Chronic Joy® Staff Writer and Prayer Team

Kara and her husband Conrad live in Calgary, Canada, where she was a teacher for 28 years. She loves the Word of God and encourages others through her devotional writing. Kara felt led to write a book of devotionals (Searching for Sea Glass) when her journey with chronic illnesses pressed her into God’s arms of love more deeply. She prays that her journey and refinement will encourage you in your walk with God.

Gratitude Note Starters

Gratitude invites us into the wonder and awe of God’s expansive creation. Eager to see and thirsty to notice God’s handiwork. We begin to experience the exquisite joy of the Lord. What a beautiful gift to share God’s joy and our gratitude with friends and loved ones.

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