The summer between my junior and senior year of high school, my Dad applied for a new job. After eight years of living in Oklahoma, my family and I would be moving to Illinois. I had grown pretty comfortable with my life up to this point, but upon realizing this upcoming life change, this sense of dread began to overwhelm me.
My mind dwelled on these heartbreaking questions:
Would anyone miss me when I’m gone?
Did I do enough with my time here?
Does my life matter?
Never before had I a remote thought of these kind of questions, but now they were all I could think about. Since I would be moving soon, I made more of an intentional effort to spend time with friends and make memories. Thus my senior year (really one semester) was my favorite part of living in Oklahoma. I was able to answer “Yes” to most of those questions.
However, this insecurity still lingers in my soul. Everywhere I live, every stage and chapter my life story writes, these questions still take a vacancy in my thoughts.
When my final year of college came around, these questions came back. So I decided to take advantage of the free counseling services my university provided. After talking about it, my counselor reassured me saying “You’ve made the most of your time here. You’ve had a ton of fun and learned a lot. But most importantly: you’ve built quality friendships.”
As much as I want to make every moment special, I understand mistakes are made and time is wasted. But being around intentional, loving, kingdom-building people allows me to reflect that to the world. And those are the people I consistently surround myself.
My life may never be written about in history books. I may never have millions followers or fans. Zachary Thayer’s existence may pretty much be forgotten a generation or two after I’m gone.
What truly matters is if I effectively love the person in front of me and beside me every moment of my life. Whoever I’m with this minute, that’s who I’m called to reach. And as long as they see Jesus in me and know him better because how I treated them, then I’ve fulfilled my calling.
Thanks to the internet, stories have the potential to influence billions all over the world. It would be an honor if one of mine does so one day. However, my worth does not come from how many people I reach. Creation’s value comes from the creator.
As a wise mentor said to his mentee: “All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to you.”
Let go of your mistakes. Allow them to be lessons learned rather than insecurities to chain you down. And live free to make the impact you were born to make, whether that be one person or millions. As long as you make decisions based on loving others and leaving the world around you better than you found it, your life matters. You may die along with everyone who knew you. But your legacy of love will linger in the folks you encountered. From there, the people you impacted will go on to affect others, then so on and so on.
That is the goal behind my calling as a storyteller. Whatever post, video, or talk I create, the purpose is to make a positive impression on the audience. In turn, they do the same to the people in their circles of influence.
My name may never be known but as long as people know the name worth knowing because of something I did, then I’ll die happy and my biggest insecurity will pass away too.
Photo Credit: Zachariah Mayfield.