Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sabbath Rest and Spiritual Sensitivity

There is something about summer that brings back memories of the last weeks of school. The excitement of having a hiatus from work and full permission to play until late into the night! Sometime writers need to take the summer off as well. So this summer I wrapped my heart around the concept of God's gift of Sabbath rest.

They must realize that the Sabbath is the LORD’s gift to you. ~ Exodus 16: 29 

Each year during the month of July our entire congregation at Word Alive International Outreach takes a collective Sabbath rest. No Sunday church services. No regular church gatherings for one whole month. Sounds a little scary doesn't it? It was an intimidating prospect for me as well when I first heard about it. But during this time of going to God for myself and resting in His presence, I have found that rest is the best medicine of all. 

For those of use who feel deeply and love hard it's important to find some time to break away to be renewed and revived. I don't like to think of myself as sensitive, but I am. I am sensitive to the heart of God and the pain of others. Being sensitive is not a liability but an asset in the hands of an Almighty God if you will allow yourself the space to grow in this gifting and to rest when needed. 

My friend Carol Brown is the author of Highly Sensitive and The Mystery of Spiritual Sensitivity . She is my guest blogger today and shares more with us on the topic of spiritual sensitivity. I highly encourage you visit Carol at www.fromgodsheart.comHer teaching will liberate you to celebrate you uniqueness. 

Are You Wired for High Sensitivity?

Dr. Dalton has given us a great help in identifying the lies that we tell ourselves, and sometimes others tell us and we believe. When we believe something that is not true it has an effect in our bodies; it throws our body chemistry out of whack and who knows what all. There seems to be a cascading effect—sort of like dominoes falling. But there is another thing I would like you to consider. It is not so much a lie that you believe as a variant design.

Some 20-30% of the general population is wired differently; they are wired in such a way as to be highly sensitive. This is only a variation on a theme. Just as there is a spectrum of light, so there is a spectrum of sensitivity that goes from the “frozen chosen” who show little sensitivity, to those who feel like life is an I-MAX theatre and they are tipping out of their chairs in response to spiritual realities that most others can’t even see! Most of the highly sensitive ones are somewhere in between the insensitive ones and the I-Maxers.

Being highly sensitive is not a defect or an anomaly. If you are highly sensitive your central nervous system is designed to receive far more sensory data than the other 70-80%. You simply have a more finely tuned chassis! Because our society is predominately made up of people less sensitive and more gregarious and/or aggressive they tend to set the values and character traits of society. They look at sensitive people and wonder what is wrong, why you are so sensitive, so emotional. They tell you to toughen up, pull yourself together and demand to know what is going on with you. They are verbal-expressive and able to quickly say what is on their minds and wonder at you that you cannot.

Due to the influx of sensory data it takes a sensitive one much longer to sort through all of that information and longer still to interpret it and come to conclusions. But, having sorted it through sensitive ones are able to put different things together in novel ways and therefore are highly creative. They also tend to be highly intelligent and highly compassionate.

There is a reason God designed you that way. The high sensitivity that bombards you with data is also what makes it possible to sense the heart of God and join Jesus in His ministry of reconciliation that is ongoing today. Jesus came to reconcile man to God and until the last human being is reconciled, that job is not complete. The same sensitivity to the heart of God also makes it possible to sense the heart of those around you. If you are highly sensitive, you may be God’s gift of grace to your little patch of the world.

When you sense the heart of someone you are with it can feel as if the sensation is your own. You feel it, right? If you feel something it must have originated with you…wrong! This ability to feel what someone else feels is what the Oxford online dictionary calls empathy “the ability to understand and share the feelings of another..” You are not “wrong;” nor are you crazy. In fact, about ½ the craziness you feel may not even be your own! Others may tell you that you are crazy…and if you are highly sensitive that is truly a lie—don’t believe it!

If you would like to give yourself a little “self-check” to see if you may be highly sensitive, here is a link to Dr. Elaine Aron’s website She is a secular psychologist who in studying this trait in children discovered that she is highly sensitive. She has written several books on the phenomena. You can find much good information on the trait from her. If you are Christian and would like that perspective, here is a link to my website where you can learn about high sensitivity from a Christian perspective.

My own testimony is that for years I knew “something was dreadfully wrong with me!” I periodically went to the doctor who took my blood, took my money and patted me on the head and told me I was “just fine!” If that is your story as well, try that little self test and see what you find. And let us know in the comment box what you discover. I look forward to chatting with you. 

~ Carol Brown, educator, administrator, mom, pastor’s wife and author of The Mystery of Spiritual Sensitivity and Highly Sensitive.