A Life of Laying It All Down

Over the course of the past year I have been wrecked by one word: eucharisteo. I first came across this word in Ann Voskamp’s book One Thousand Gifts. I highly recommend reading the book because it dramatically changed my perspective on life. The word eucharisteo means thankfulness. The root of eucharisteo is charis, which means grace. The derivative of charis is char meaning joy. This word, put simply, implies that when we have a heart of thanksgiving for the grace of Jesus daily we receive His infinite joy.

The rivers of joy are truly found in the lowly places of our lives. I found this to be true in my own life over and over again. I have been in a season of discontentment and resentment towards my Father. I have not enjoyed the place that I have found myself in.  It seems as though every aspect of my life is falling apart. I have doubted the goodness of God and turned my back on Him. I have been blind to His goodness, but through daily reminder to give thanks I am reminded of the provision of Christ. There is nothing harder to do than give thanks when bitterness engulfs our souls, but it is essential to living a fruitful life filled with joy. When we reach down into the depths of our souls and find something to be thankful for, we receive tiny glimmers of hope. A hope for what is to come, a hope good lies on the other side of my pain, and a hope that maybe just maybe beauty can rise  out of the brokenness.

It’s when we decrease our own pride and look to Him that we receive ultimate joy. He must increase and I must decrease not because that is a burden, but so that my joy might increase with more of Him. Running water resembles spiritual waters in the way it always flows towards the lowest places. The rivers of joy are found in the lowly places of our lives not only on the other side of our pain, but within our pain.

I must decrease so my joy will increase. Humility invites Him to work in our lives.  I have found this to be so true of my own life.

Going abroad to be the hands and feet of Jesus- joy.

Bringing a good friend dinner the night before a hard test- joy.

Finding goodness on the other side of a hard season of anxiety and sadness- joy.

Creating vulnerability with other college-aged women about the hard things- joy.

Sending a word of encouragement to a friend even if you’re having a hard day- joy.

Volunteering in your local community- joy.

Joy in its purest form come from us laying our lives down to receive all that Jesus has to offer. Joy comes after we release our comfort so Christ has the chance to refine our character. Joy comes from changing our perspective and viewing the broken pieces of our lives as beautiful through gratitude. A daily example of this would be the laundry I have piling up in my room right now feels like a burden, but when I look at it with thanksgiving I am reminded of the clothes I have on my back and the provision of my Father. Joy comes from getting low to make Christ high.

He transfigures all things, no matter how long it takes. What we so often regard as ugly Jesus calls lovely! Because somewhere underneath the grime of this broken world and the pain, everything displays the radiant hands of our God. If we choose to see the world with the eyes of Christ, we have the daily opportunity to give thanks and watch Jesus transform what was once ugly in our sight to glorious. You may be surprised by how quickly thanksgiving can make your world so much lovelier. 

Eucharisteo (Thankfulness) —> Charis (Daily Grace) —> Char (JOY).

Madison // @mzizmer

Meet Madison!

Hello I'm Madison Zizmer! I am currently a Sophomore Journalism and Mass Communications major at Samford University from Orlando, FL. I love traveling, running, creativity, and being in community with the people I treasure the most. I am passionate about communicating through writing and love the power of words woven together. I love the impact of a story and the way that no one can refute what you have found to be true in your own life. In this past season I have seen the redemptive work of Christ in my own story, in the stories of the people close to my heart, and in our extremely broken world, so with that I have decided to write. To write about redemption, to write about stories, and to write about the beauty that comes from being authentic and boldly proclaiming our brokenness into the light.