“My life will never be the same again.” All kinds of experiences can shape our identity, if given the power to do so. Unfortunately, the unthinkable encounters are often the ones with the most influence. We don’t realize they are defining us. All the while, they are subtly, but powerfully, changing how we think. How we respond to situations. How we see ourselves. Trauma is a powerful thief.
So, take a deep breath, and be honest with yourself. Why do that? Because you really want to be whole. For years, secular researchers have validated the effect of trauma in negatively impacting a person’s self-esteem. Now they’re also confirming the influence of religiosity on diminishing that impact.
When we invite God into our lives and into our pain, His healing stabilizes the negative effects of trauma. In other words, His defining of us is more powerful than the negative impact of our life experiences. God constructs your resilience—not only in your daily functioning but also in your self-worth.
Perhaps you are one of a handful of people reading today who has been sheltered and buffered from some of the challenging struggles you have seen others experience or had the privilege of encountering certain positive experiences in life that others have not. Thank God for the protection you’ve experienced and some of the special opportunities you’ve been privileged to have. But please be careful, my friend. Judging your worth by anything temporal will eventually prove to be a stumbling block in your wholeness.
One day you will encounter trials and struggles. Maybe even tragedy. If your security is based on the wonderful experiences you’ve encountered in life, you will be set up to be immobilized by the inevitable struggles you will face. Remember, resist giving these life experiences the power to define you. So, enjoy the peace and protection you have experienced, but don’t let them define you any more than you would expect a tragedy should define another sister in Christ.
We’ve established that life experiences can’t be allowed to bring a charge against you. Can you imagine separating these experiences from your inherent worth? If so, think about the following: What impact might that separation have on your thoughts about yourself? What impact might it have on your emotional stability? What impact might it have on your future choices?