My parents were told I had a condition that was “incompatible with life.” My scans matched the textbook examples of this condition perfectly. I wouldn’t survive more than a few minutes after birth.
Obviously, some wires got crossed somewhere.
My parents were never shy about telling me how I was never expected to live. How God worked a miracle. Growing up, I heard this over and over from my parents and grandparents and how God certainly had great things in store for me. These words, though meant to inspire me (and they once did), eventually did nothing but weigh me down with an anxious need to fulfill expectations. The narrative has always been that I was given a second chance at life (before it even began), and, frankly, that’s a lot to live up to. I frequently questioned why I lived and what purpose God had for me. Knowing I “should” have died brought enormous pressure and the constant wondering if I was doing everything I should with my life.
I didn’t ask to be born. I didn’t ask to live when it was thought I would die. I didn’t ask to be deemed a miracle. Did that matter? I lived, so I was just supposed to figure out what those “great things” were and make sure I fulfill my purpose, right?
That’s a lot of pressure for anyone to grow up shouldering.
Coming into yourself as a young person is hard for everyone. Every individual struggles with accepting themselves and deciding who they are in this world. The last thing I needed was EXTRA pressure to match the great expectations of others who saw me as a miracle. I was already insecure about how I came across to others, both in physical looks and overall manner. Throw in the need to represent God on a higher level than everyone else because He “saved” my life for His purpose, and I was a complete wreck and felt like a failure.
I needed someone to have great expectations of me in terms of reaching any goal I set for myself, not in reaching the fuzzy, nondescript potential God “obviously” had for my life. I slowly have found several of those people over the years, but it has taken quite a long time.
The unintended results of this “miracle mentality” included years of anxiety, depression, and loneliness as I wrestled with never being enough. This mindset is not something easily forgotten or changed. To this day I still have moments where I ask God why I’m here and what the point is to my life, because of the unintended guilt caused by having my life singled out as a miracle. What I have realized, though, is that it doesn’t make me a horrible or ungrateful person to question why I’m alive. If anything, questioning keeps me alert to the opportunities and people around me because I’m actively searching. This is how I’m able to continue working through all this and separate the truth from the fluff.
The truth is, I shouldn’t feel guilty about not living up to an ambiguous potential. The truth is, my life is no more or less special than anyone else. The truth is, every life is a miracle and I should live my life holding myself to the same standard as everyone else, not something higher just because I was told my life was a miracle. Accepting these truths takes time, but that’s okay. The important thing is, I refuse to keep actively shouldering the guilt and pressure of being a “miracle.”