Lately…

…I’ve been feeling way too much. It’s tiring. I’m currently in a wonderful job, which is incredibly emotionally draining. In spite of the ups and downs, just beneath the surface, I’m so glad that a “peace that surpasses understanding” is at the core. I am grateful that the LORD is unchanging, and that He is instilling in me an ever-stronger joy in His salvation of me. And in Himself, in general. 

HSP Nightmare – again

Just a few short days following my report of my own, personal, HSP nightmare, yet another one occurred. 

This time it was auditory. 

With very few exceptions, auditory stimuli don’t really trigger much of an HSP response for me. This was pretty extreme, though. 

My security system contract had run out, so they sent a technician to do some updates and install some new sensors. 

I thought this would take about twenty minutes or less. I certainly hoped so, since I was taking a nap when he arrived. 

I didn’t take into account that new equipment must be…tested. 

So. He trips the alarm. 

“Great,” I thought. “It works. Now disarm it.” 

This is not what happened. Instead, he let the incredibly loud, shrill, nerve-wracking alarm sound for what had to have been at least ten minutes. And I was pretty much a captive audience. 

By the time he disarmed the system, I was on the verge of tears, shaking, trying to calm down. 

I gave him a “friendly reminder” that he may want to warn people about this aspect of the installation process. 

He replied, “I do this so much that I don’t even really hear it anymore.”

Small consolation. Very small. 

At least he warned me when he had to set the thing off again. Although I had warning that time, my nerves didn’t fare much better. 

When he left, all I could do was sit on the sofa and try to calm down and un-verge my tears. I was meeting friends earlier that night and was in no condition to socialize after that alarm trauma. 

I would really like to know some “in the moment, flight-is-not-an-option” coping tips for situations like that. It’s in fathomable, though, what could possibly work. 

Do you have any suggestions? 

An HSP’s Nightmare

Well…mine, anyway. 

Just now, I was putting facial cleanser on my face, to wash and get ready for bed. As I was bent down to the sink, I noticed a few strands of hair in the top of the drain. 

So…without rinsing my face, I went straight to the task of cleaning some strands of hair out of the drain. Along with the hair came little pieces of unidentified, grey gunk. 

For that horrifying five minutes, I was trembling and gagging (a little bit.) I still have some heebie-jeebies. 

Once, long ago, I lived in a dorm suite, and our shower drain got clogged. I had to get a huge, horrible clump of my and my roommates’ hair out of there.  

Can. Not. Handle. This. 

As this post is published, I still have facial cleanser on my face. 

Did I mention that I also have ADD? 

I Bounce Back Like a Ton of Bricks

The Lord has helped me become more even-tempered lately, with these verses coming to mind quite often:

[a]What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? [b]Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask [c]with wrong motives, so that you may spend it [d]on your pleasures.  James 4:1-3

Keeping that truth in mind helps me not get to the point where others’ words or actions bother me to the point of that I plunge into the quicksand of my emotions.

That’s how it’s been going lately.

That is not at all how it went today.

When I woke up, I looked at my email on my phone.  (I should have had prayer time before checking my phone, but that’s not what happened.)   The first email I saw was an unnecessarily condescending work email.  An innocent bystander would not view the words in the email as condescending. The innocent bystander is also not aware of the subtext.

After reading the email, my heart immediately started beating quickly.  I was mad.  For the rest of the morning, I did not stop thinking about that email.  Instead, I chose to stew on it and nurture my anger at the person who sent it.

At work, the same person had a conversation with me – about a different topic – that was much more condescending than the email from this morning.  The tone of voice was actually on the pleasant side, but again, subtext ruled.  There was nothing I could do, except meekly acknowledge that I was in the wrong.  (I wasn’t, but it’s often best to just go with it.)

Just writing about today’s happenings brought on a much-needed cry.  It was more of a half-cry, because I got distracted.

This evening, the bulk of my mental space was used on crying out to the Lord that I hate this person.  Again, probably not the best thing to do; but I figure it’s better than saying it to the person or talking behind their back.  The rest of my mental space was used on crying out to the Lord to help me not to hate the person.

19 For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. Romans 7:19

24 Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from [r]the body of this death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! Romans 7:24-25 

This is what makes being an HSP so frustrating to me. There is absolutely no reason why I should still be upset about the email or the conversation.  These incidents are just par for the course, and are not a true reflection on me as a worker or as a human being, in general.  Yet, they still cut so deeply when they do happen. It is a longstanding battle for me not to sin in my anger or self-pity at the toxicity of this situation.

PS: I have changed the settings, so that work emails don’t come through on my phone anymore.

Sunday School on Saturday

And now, another break from my normal posts in which I give an overly detailed explanation of every feeling I have ever had.

The other day, I realized that I wasn’t trusting the Lord’s hand in the Sunday/Saturday School class that I was going to start.  Instead, I “decided” that the thing to do was to wrack my brain trying to come up with exactly the right words to say, in hopes of ensuring that none of these little ones would be led astray.  Ever.  For the rest of their lives.  As a result of my perfect teaching.

I’m pleased to report that I was convicted of this faulty thinking before the time actually came to teach the class.

So…the class:

I had four boys, aged four to eight years old.  The four year old was kind of all over the place and not really paying attention.  The other three were great, for the most part.  As I’d mentioned before, they all been in Sunday School before, so they have a decent grasp of the Bible.  And they seem to have figured out that, when all else fails, the correct answer is probably “Jesus.”

The beginning was a little shaky, but then, I started with a children’s catechism that I’d found.  We started with the first two questions and worked on memorizing corresponding Bible verses.  That took quite a while, but they seemed to enjoy it.  By the time we got around to starting the actual lesson, it was time to wrap it up.

A low-light and a highlight from the day:

Low-light – At one point, one boy said, “You know, I’d prefer to go out and sit with my mom.  I just said that I wanted you to teach us, so that you wouldn’t be sad.”  Ouch.  At the end, each of them prayed.  One of his prayers was that God would help him like Sunday School.

Highlight – The study that I was going to teach was called “Moses’ Dream vs. God’s Dream,” from the website, Ministry to Children.  The first step was to ask the children what their dreams were.  The first two boys, who grew up in Christian homes, mentioned owning a horse and being a soldier.  We got sidetracked, and the other boy said, “You didn’t ask me what my dream is.  I want to tell my dream.”  So, I gave him a chance.

He said, “When I grow up, I dream to read the Bible and know the Bible.”  Mind you, this child grew up with non-Christian parents.  His mother starting attending church about year ago, and got baptized recently.  Needless to say, my heart melted.  I hope this boy wasn’t saying that just to make me happy, cause it seemed so sweet and sincere.  Again, that’s something I will have to leave in the Lord’s hands.

Returning to Trusting the Lord 101….

I’ve done it again!  The last time, I wasn’t trusting that the Lord would remember that I desire to be married and have a family if I don’t remind him every few minutes.  This time, it’s a bit different, but the result is still the same.

About six weeks ago, a friend, whose church is very small, asked me to teach Bible lessons to the children when the adults are having their home group. I thought about it for a couple of weeks.  I would like to say that I prayed and received an answer, but that’s not exactly what happened.  I may have mentioned before that I’m not a great pray-er and wait-for-answer-er.  In any case, I finally answered that I would teach the children.

The first time I’m supposed to teach them is tomorrow.  So, I’ve been pondering and pondering about what/how I can teach them, to make absolutely sure that they don’t stray from their faith when they are older.  I don’t want them to feel disillusioned with the faith of their childhood later in life.  Therefore, I’ve been trying to think of exactly what I need to say, in order to make absolutely sure that these children genuinely accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior, and don’t just follow along, because they are young.

RED FLAG of DISTRUST!

Do I have control over these kids’ salvation!?  No, I don’t.

Will God’s plans be thwarted, if I don’t say the perfect words?  Let’s go with “no” again.

I’ve heard several people talk about how we must hold our children (biological or heart children) with an open hand, in front of the Lord.  We have to trust that His will be done.  There are no guarantees that they won’t stray.  That they won’t all go to prison.  That they won’t stop going to church as soon as they start college – or earlier.  The Lord knows all of these things already.

I do know that I have a responsibility to teach them with care and make sure that they are hearing sound doctrine.  However, what they do with it is out of my hands.  Fortunately, these kids’ families are pretty strong Christians.  Plus, the children have regularly attended Sunday School at another church for quite a while.  So, I’m not starting with a blank slate.

Please pray for me and the children.  I think I have found the lesson that I would like to teach.  I just did that in the fifteen minutes between writing the previous two sentences.

This is all in God’s hand.  May I be humble and obedient while teaching His truth to these sweet, little ones.

If I’m Happy and I Know It, I Don’t Write (But I know I should…)

(clap, clap)

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

That title has been rolling around in my mind for the past few days; and I’ve been waiting to have enough time and focus to park myself and write.  Part of the reason I’ve kind of slacked off is that I’ve been feeling better about several things lately.  I don’t think I’ve had as many strongly HSP moments as I had been having.  So, it seems that I’ve been subconsciously believing that I don’t have anything of worth to say, if it’s not about being a Highly Sensitive Person.

Hopefully, that is not the case!

It is also helpful to remember that, although the HSP trait is a huge part of who I am, it does not define me.  Though I often feel like an exposed nerve walking around, my life is not meant to consist of merely existing from one HSP “event” to the next. And neither is yours, fellow HSP!

Since the last time I posted, the number of views to this blog exceeded 1,000.  It took nearly a year, but I’m still pleased.  Many people have ended up here by way of search terms such as “Christian HSP,” or “sensitive Christian.”

As a matter of fact, this blog was birthed from my doing the same types of searches.  When I couldn’t find much biblical information on being an HSP, someone suggested that I write something.  So, here we are.

As always, it is my prayer that whoever finds their way here – HSP or not – will find some sort of encouragement, will be able to relate.  (I really hope someone will relate, so that I won’t so feel crazy!)   Hopefully, in some way, the Lord will be glorified, too.

My greatest and only hope is in the Lord Jesus.  And to be sure, I would be a completely broken-down wreck, if it weren’t for Him and a desire to live as He did.  Though the high sensitivity is still very present, having an increasingly biblical perspective on life and circumstances definitely takes the edge off.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.  Romans 12:2

Perhaps that’s why I have felt that I didn’t have anything to say.  On second thought, I think that this hope and joy should provide even more to say.

How have you sought the Lord in dealing with a highly sensitive personality?  

First Blog Swap – Six Reasons to Rejoice that Christ is Enough in Our Suffering

I’m excited and honored to participate in my very first blog swap with Michelle Lesley, a Christian author whose writing is encouraging, and more importantly, theologically sound.  Up until now, I haven’t written much about theology.  Let’s say that I try to exercise great caution when I recommend someone’s teaching to others.  Michelle’s writing has encouraged me and challenged me; and I hope you will have a similar experience!

christ-is-enough

Michelle’s post, Six Reasons to Rejoice that Christ is Enough in Our Suffering, really spoke to me, as an Highly Sensitive Person.  It serves as a wonderful reminder of the hope we have in Christ, even in the midst of deep pain – especially when we seem to feel this pain with greater frequency and intensity than most.

Be blessed by Michelle’s post, and be sure to follow her!

Doing the Opposite Today of What I Said Yesterday – Almost

Make me absolutely honest and don’t let me be too poor or too rich.
    Give me just what I need.
If I have too much to eat, I might forget about you;
if I don’t have enough, I might steal and disgrace your name.

Proverbs 30:8-9

Yesterday at church, the pastor preached on the ideas of “expansion” and “contraction” in the Christian life.  He talked – in part – about the usefulness of times of difficulty (contractions) in our lives.  One way is that difficulty has a way of drawing us closer to the Lord than we typically are in times of great ease and prosperity.  During times of ease (expansion), we tend to fall into the trap of feeling that we have accomplished that circumstance in our own strength, and that same strength will empower us to remain in the comfortable circumstance.  Obviously, as self-reliance increases, reliance on the Lord will decrease.  Intellectually, Christians (should) know that it should never be the case that we stop relying on the Lord to supply our daily needs – one day at a time.  But does it really ever play out practically?  And for how long?

Yesterday evening, we had our small group meeting, at which we discussed the morning’s sermon.  One question asked how close we felt to the Lord during times of contraction versus times of expansion.  One person in the group said that they are going through a relatively good time right now, and don’t feel terribly close to the Lord.  They mentioned that a few years ago, there was a particularly difficult period.  During that time, they felt much closer to Him than they do now.

I answered this question from the other side of the coin.  I have had financial and job stress for a little over a year now. Month after month, God has sustained me in different ways:  a large tax return; a couple of roommates at different times; friends who allowed me to eat with them; benevolence from the church; Christmas presents of household necessities; and more.  I have also been working, but just that income has not been enough to cover my expenses.

There have also been some personal difficulties:  disappointment with my current work situation; learning how to navigate being an HSP; transitioning from one church to another; experiencing loneliness on various fronts.  All of these things have kept me pressed close to the Lord, as I try to figure out what in the world is going on with my life.

I have experienced great joy and closeness, because of the trust that I have had to exercise lately.  As part of my answer, I also said that I hope that God will allow me the chance to trust in Him and depend on Him, even when I’m not struggling so much financially.  In other words, I hope He won’t leave me without gainful – and meaningful! – employment for too much longer, just in an effort to keep me close.  (I’m sure there’s some faulty thinking on my part, but it’s just what I hope.)

Already this morning, I had a chance to “prove myself.”  And almost failed.  Not even 24 hours later!

This morning, I woke up feeling a bit ill.  So, I went back to sleep for a few more hours.  (Okay, there are some perks to just working part time.)  Suffice it to say, I got several hours of sleep in.  When I finally got up, I knew that I needed to spend some time in prayer. My first thought was something like, “Well, I’m not in any particular distress right now and don’t have any new need.  So, I guess I don’t need to pray.”

What?!

Thankfully, the Holy Spirit immediately reminded me of yesterday’s sermon and discussion on contraction and expansion, closeness to and distance from the Lord.  Thankfully, I was convicted enough to hit the ground and pray.  Admittedly, I did not pray for a considerable amount of time, but I did pray.

I praised the Lord for being who He is.

I thanked him for His free gift of salvation through Jesus the Christ.

I tried to bring to mind any un-confessed sin.  And confessed it.

I tried to recall the prayer requests of loved ones.

Let me be honest:  I’m a very lazy pray-er.  And I do get distracted easily.  Praying “on-the-go” suits me more.  Of course, prayer is not really about what suits me, and I would do well to remember that.

In any case, I’m grateful for the somewhat non-dramatic wake-up call that God gave me today.  I don’t want to ever be in such a good condition that I forget my God.  When I do find myself in more positive circumstances, my prayer is that I will continue to pray.  That I will continue to seek the Lord’s face.  That I will continue to acknowledge that it is all from Him and all belongs to Him.  That I will always find reasons to cry out to Him – even when my heart is not heavy with tears and stress.

Thinking and More Thinking

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, (‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭10‬:‭3-5‬ NASB)

Taking thoughts captive.

Not exactly my strongpoint. I imagine that it’s not the strongpoint of too many other HSPs out there. However, as a Christian, I have the power of the Holy Spirit, by which I can overcome.

Tonight, I had started on a downward spiral. Really, it’s been a spiraling kind of weekend, because of a few pieces of bad news that I had received.

I recognize that my tendency to overthink often gets my brain tied in so many knots. Those knots are so difficult to undo! Not only do I retrace my steps and consider sins that the Lord may be now disciplining me for, but I also spend time thinking about how He might be allowing my current difficult circumstances to take my life into further despair.

This is not how God has called me to live my life!

He has said that I can do all things through Christ’s strength. Philippians 4:13

He has said that I should not worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow has enough worries of its own. Matthew 6:34

He has said that I must forget what is behind and press on toward the goal – that is, eternal life and Christlikeness. Philippians 3:14

I don’t mean to say that I will never have trouble. Or that I must not learn from my mistakes. However, I must not get bogged down in trying to figure out God’s mind and his plans.

God gives us what we need for each day. He gives us a lamp for our path, not a floodlight. There is such a level of trust required! Second-guessing and trying to become omniscient is not really a display of trust.

Again, it is a real struggle for me not to overthink. But knowing that my thoughts are more than likely irrational is a definite help in digging myself out of the pit of obsessive thinking.

Sometimes, I do need the help of a friend – as I did tonight. I needed someone to tell me, “Hey, these thoughts are not from God. You do need to work on some circumstances in your life, but the nighttime is not the time to do it.” She mentioned that our thoughts tend to take us more into a frenzy at night. How I can attest to that!

She reminded me that God’s mercies are new every morning. At that time, I will hopefully be able to see more clearly.