I am reading a book called The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive when the World Overwhelms You, by Elaine Aron. Boy, does it ever describe me! Briefly, an “HSP” responds to stimuli of virtually any kind with more gusto, shall we say, than regular, non-HSPs. In other words, we feel things more and we over-react because of our super-sensitive nature.
Here are some of my HSP symptoms: I fly off the handle easily, especially when people are making demands on me; I itch a lot and can’t keep from scratching – (I think a scratched itch is absolutely glorious!); I can’t stand the feeling of socks on my feet or my feet being wet; I fall apart when I fail at something – especially if it’s a social thing; hunger drives me insane; I can’t tolerate building projects because of all the change they entail; sometimes the thought of going into Walmart just overwhelms me because of all the visual stimulation, all the people, all the choices, all the disappointments when you buy something and it turns out to be junk; and embarrassment feels like the most horrible pain on earth!
I only have one problem with the book and the theory. It is from an “anything goes” type of spiritual viewpoint, which is probably OK for a secular psychoanalyst, but as a Christian, what do I do with this new insight into my personality, my “self” as it were? Psychology is a tough study to balance, it seems to me, because to study the mind gets so close to the spirit and the soul. So it feels like an area where highly sensitive Christians need to tread lightly and seek all the help from the Holy Spirit that they can get.
Below are the verses, Col. 2:8-10:
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:
I’ve been meditating on the idea of “spoil” lately. Here’s my conclusion so far. The Christian life is one of spiritual battles, sometimes one right after another. When we win, when we take captive the wayward thought, when we overcome the selfish habit and yield to the will of God, we are winning a battle, which means we take spoil from the enemy. In other words, we wind up richer somehow than we were before the battle.
Anyway, I see a lot of help for my own weaknesses in pursuing this idea that I am an “HSP” and that “my trait” (as Aron calls it) is responsible for a lot of the challenges I have facing life, especially facing social interaction. Yet, I don’t want to become so enamored with the idea, or with the book, that I lose my faith, or that my faith gets shook. I can’t bear another shake-up of my faith. It is sometimes the only thing I have to hang on to that feels real.
I feel like my calling, my question I was put here to help answer (an idea from the book) is in the area of Christian, or maybe I should say Biblical psychology. I have been placed, by God, in the yoke of marriage with a Christian brother who has always borne a sort of mental weakness. Currently, I guess the diagnosis is something like “Bipolar with Psychotic Features.”
Who knows? At this point my quest is simply how do I help him? Is there something demonic involved? Is medicine really the answer? The medicine has so many side effects. His memory is just about shot. His muscles jerk involuntarily. Yet I feel that the Lord impressed upon me to believe for his healing. Which is why I am on the quest. If I didn’t believe a complete healing and deliverance from God was possible, I would just throw in the towel.
Actually, One Person knows what the answer is, and He is the One I am seeking as I am on this quest. And who’s to say He’s not the One who led me to read that book? And who’s to say that my dear husband is not something of an HSP, too? Anyway, I believe God will lead me on to the next book or website or article or healer or preacher or Bible passage I need on this journey. May He protect me from being spoiled by non-Biblical ideas, and when the victory comes, may the spoil we take away be great!
By the way, if you read this, feel free to leave a comment. A kind one, if at all possible. Remember, I’m sensitive. 😉