Today, it seems that there is this great desire to be somebody, to gain the praise of millions, to become YouTube or Tik Tok famous. Everyone wants to make their mark on the world, be it for a moment or a lifetime. I think it’s quite natural to want to make a lasting mark, to leave behind a legacy, to create a name that will be remembered forever. We all want to believe that there is more to our lives than our meager, daily existence. We want to feel that we’ve delivered some kind of message to the world.
We’re all looking for a way to stand out, to be noticed for something, to be remembered for something.
But is it possible to make a name for ourselves, to deliver a message to the world, without ever becoming famous?
I truly believe it is, and here’s how we can do just that…
Think back on your life and the people who have impacted it. I’m sure everyone can name a person, or two, or five, who greatly impacted their life and future. Of course, for many, our parents come first and foremost to our minds, but who else? I think of my 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Bizup, who encouraged my writing from an early age. She probably has no idea what a huge difference that encouragement made in my life. There was my 9th grade history teacher, Mr. Webb, who sparked in me an interest of history, archaeology, religion, and world cultures. My college professors, Dr. and Dr. Heidler, truly refined my love in history and research. Add to that list, my grandparents, whom I strive to emulate every day of my life.
Not one of those people ever became famous. Not one of them would be recognized by more than a small group of people. Not one of them did anything earth-shattering, yet they all had a profound impact on making me the person I am today—wife, mother, daughter, Christian, writer, researcher, and explorer.
When I think about this, I can’t help but think about St. Bartholomew. We know little about him other than something transpired under a fig tree that led Jesus to deem him an honorable and trustworthy man, and that he was also known as Nathaniel. That’s not much to go on and certainly not enough to lead us to believe that he ever did anything great or impactful. On the other hand, we know that he was one of the Chosen Twelve, an Apostle, a pillar of the Church, one of the first Christian martyrs. Does it really matter that we know little else? Does it matter that he wasn’t one of the Gospel writers, that only one verbal exchange is accredited to him in the Bible, that he wasn’t an epistle writer or noted oratorio? I would argue that it does not, that the only thing that truly matters is that he made a difference to those who knew him. As an apostle, anointed with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, Bartholomew would have been an evangelist, a preacher, a seeker and doer. Perhaps he convinced his entire family to follow Christ. Perhaps he persuaded entire villages to become followers. Certainly he spread the message far and wide, as all of the Apostles were known to have done.
Is he any less important, with less of a message, than the others because we don’t know more than his name and reputation?
Are you and I any less important because we aren’t heralded by the masses? Does what we say and do really matter?
Does it matter more that we have done great things with our lives or that we have greatly influenced someone with the small things we’ve done?
Now that you’ve thought about those people who influenced you, take a moment to think about those whom you have influenced. There are undoubtedly more than you know or believe. Just Because you don’t star in a reality show or have millions of fans on Instagram does not mean that you are not important, that you have not made an impact on the world. You are child of God. That alone means you have the ability to influence others, even if it’s just one person. As St. Teresa of Calcutta said, “If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.”
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Amy Schisler is an award-winning author of both children’s books and sweet, faith-filled romance novels for readers of all ages. She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her books, Picture Me, Whispering Vines, and Island of Miracles are all recipients of Illumination Awards, placing them among the top inspirational fiction books of 2015, 2016, and 2017. Whispering Vines was awarded the 2017 LYRA Award for the best romance of 2016. Island of Miracles has outsold all of Amy’s other books worldwide and ranked as high as 600 on Amazon. Her follow up, Island of Promise is a reader favorite. Amy’s children’s book is The Greatest Gift. The suspense novel, Summer’s Squall, and all of Amy’s books, can be found online and in stores. Her latest novel, Island of Promise, was recently awarded First Prize by the Oklahoma Romance Writer’s Association as the best Inspirational Romance of 2018 and was awarded a Gold Medal in the Independent Publisher Book Awards 2019 for Inspirational Fiction. It is the 2019 winner for Best Inspirational Fiction in the RWA Golden Quill Contest, Best Romance in the American Book Awards, and a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award of Fiction. Amy’s 2019 work, The Devil’s Fortune, a finalist in the Writer’s Digest Self-Publishing Awards and winner of an Illumination Award, is based, in part, on Amy’s family history. The third book of Amy’s Chincoteague Island Trilogy, Island of Hope, was released in August of 2019.
Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me (2015), Whispering Vines (2016), Island of Miracles (2017), Stations of the Cross Meditations for Moms (2017), The Greatest Gift (2017), Summer’s Squall (2017), Island of Promise (2018), The Devil’s Fortune (2019), Island of Hope (2019).