Question: Does our experience create our identity or does our identity create our experience?
Many people, myself included, think that our experiences make us who we are. We can’t deny that our experiences have effected us for better and sometimes for worse. Sometimes we go through things that aren’t in our control. Sometimes we cause the things we go through. My point is that to believe that our experiences make us WHO we are means that we are living a life controlled by our experiences thus we don’t have any power to become who we want to be, ultimately.
The truth is that our identity creates our experiences. Why is it that two people can go through an almost identical experience but come out being affected two completely different ways? It’s because our experiences only expose what our character is. Our identity will continue to create experiences that reinforce what is already in us. If two people get molested as children and one grows up to be a child molester and the other builds a foundation for victims of child molestation it shows the same experience created two separate identities that those two people had no control in making (according to our logic). There has to be a foundation of beliefs that made one person a facilitator of the cruel experience and the other a deterrent to the cruel experience.
Here is the punch line: Your identity is incomplete if you don’t seek Jesus. How can you fully know who you are without knowing your creator? You can’t. Your identity creates your experience (as in whole lifetime experience). Naturally, you can see the traits you get from your parents to know who you are; likewise you need to know the traits you get from God to know who you are. The more you know Jesus the more you know yourself.
If you go through an experience that tries to teach you that you are not loved and you build your identity from that lie then your experience makes you believe you are unworthy of love. But when when you know your identity as a loved child of God you create experiences of love. And if an experience of worthlessness befalls you you’ll be able get through still knowing your foundation of love is true and the worthlessness experience is a lie, thus not who you are.
We must base our identity on a solid foundation. Christ is that solid foundation and our identity is nothing but goodness because we were created in God’s image.