About the Book
Highly Sensitive is about spiritual fitness—building in the structures, habits, and disciplines that will enable you to do “the good works that were designed for you to do from the beginning” (Ephesians 2:10).
It is about how empathetic burden bearing affects the individual; how to recover and repair damage from negative responses to your high sensitivity on the emotional, spiritual and psychological levels. It’s about the inner structures needed to live a joy-filled life as a burden bearer, before the ‘gift’ kills you! It gives principles and guidelines to help reign life in so that it is manageable. It deals with five growth areas common to the highly sensitive: 1) Hearing God, 2) Confidence in what you hear, 3) Trust, 4) Boundaries, 5) Identity and destiny.
It will encourage you—and maybe help you be less hard on yourself. You are learning a spiritual language, and that takes time!Other books present how to intercede, how to hear God, but never address the issue of high sensitivity. A certain amount of sensitivity is necessary to connect with and sense the heart of God. You need to know how that very sensitivity affects those who are wired to be highly sensitive!
If you feel “crazy,” “weird,” or just different from everyone else you may be coping with a highly sensitive nervous system which is core to burden bearing and sensing the heart of God! It is a good thing! But when you are unaware of its functioning and untrained in its use it can become a double edged sword and cause pain to you and others.
If your DNA is to fix things, life can become crazy unmanageable. Compassion without boundaries will use you up and burn you out! Work with Jesus and Holy Spirit to learn how to build or move inner boundaries to make life more manageable; learn how to trust again when trust has been shattered and discover how Father God sees you—as His son, His daughter!
Look at life as a spiritual fitness program and burden bearing intercession as your personal regimen. It will mold and sculpt you into a striking resemblance of Jesus! One day you will be presented to the Father; you will want to look your very best!
Who should read these books? Anyone, highly sensitive or not!
- Individuals seeking relationship with God and people
- Couples who read it together find it helpful in improving their marriages
- Grandparents interceding for family members
- Ministry leaders wanting to understand those they lead
- Counselors and prayer ministers who “repair the saints”
People “not so sensitive” will find that they understand their weird relatives a lot better! Understanding is the most loving gift you can give the highly sensitive people in your life—and the remaining 70-80% not so sensitive can learn from them!
Excerpt from Highly Sensitive…understanding your gift of spiritual sensitivity. Published by Destiny Image, 2010.
Chapter 1 — Welcome to my world
Mystified, Stephen stood looking at Mirianna, his wife. “You are killing me! You are killing me!” she yelled. The comfortable, peaceful little cottage suddenly became electric. He could feel the bubble of joy that had buoyed him all the way home slowly deflate, punctured by her words. Thoughts rumbled about in his head, but he said nothing; his face twisted in grief.
What could you possibly mean? he thought. You are the love of my life, my world. You give meaning to everything I do. To share life with you is all I want. I could never hurt you, and yet, here I am obviously hurting you and I don’t even know how—or why!
He took a step toward her, but she shrank back, avoiding his touch as if it would hurt. She knew he only wanted to comfort her, but she could not allow him near her—not yet. She could feel the pain she caused by shrinking back, which added to the overwhelming amount she already felt coming from him. An inarticulate sound of anguish escaped as Stephen turned and went outside. He would walk—five miles maybe and talk to his Lord. Mirianna would be more like herself, at least able to talk when he returned. Homecoming from every conference or convention was this way. Why he had no idea, but he didn’t like it. He wanted to share his joy with his beautiful, sensitive, loving mate. Joy always multiplied in the sharing. That was why he desired to give it to her, so they would both have joy—twice the joy! The last thing he wanted was for the joy to escape into the atmosphere and disappear!
Mirianna was the center of Stephen’s world, but Jesus was the center of his universe. Nothing gave him more joy than to work with his Lord, repairing the saints (see Ephesians. 4:12). His life was to serve his Lord by bringing hurting people together with those who could help and encourage. He organized conferences and conventions regionally and nationally, wherever people needed them. The multitude of details challenged him. He loved to see people helped and healed; it energized him to see God work! Not to love and serve either his Lord or his wife was unthinkable. It would literally tear him apart; at lease that is how he felt at the moment.
The inarticulate sound that Stephen made as he turned to walk off the burdens of the conference was a prayer. Scripture says that the Spirit makes intercession with groaning that cannot be uttered (see Romans 8:26). The Lord understood what Stephen’s spirit was saying! It was a prayer of invitation to come into the situation, to carry the heavy end of this painful burden. Now it was the Lord’s turn to organize people and circumstances.
That was how Stephen came to attend the international school on prayer ministry where my husband David and I were teaching. Earlier in the day David broke with the planned program, sensing from the Lord that my talk on burden bearing was more important for this group than the one scheduled.
It was break time now, and 150-200 people milled about the cavernous, old church. Light streamed through beautiful, tall stained glass windows. Little groups of people chatted and stretched. Other folks needed coffee. I joined that line and wondered why the cup was only half-full—but after one taste; I too reached for the cream and sugar to top off the cup! I sipped the hot corrosive liquid and watched as one of the pastors purposefully made his way in my direction. I had noticed him before. He was of average height and weight had round, rosy cheeks, and needed a haircut, like most of the men in attendance! He was one of the Energizer Bunnies—going, going, going! What I liked most about him was the laugh wrinkles around his eyes and mouth. They testified to the joy and good humor with which he lived his life.
As he neared me, his eyes began to dance and set the laugh wrinkles in motion. He reached out and grabbed my hand with both of his. “Thank you, thank you, and thank you. You have given me my wife back!” The dancing eyes misted, and his voice cracked with emotion as he relayed the story you just read.
He continued. “Now I understand. I did not know that if I do not pass on to the Lord what I feel in others, the spiritual and emotional pain, confusion and trouble could cling to me like cigarette smoke! I brought it into my house with me so it felt to my wife like I was causing her pain. She is so sensitive that even the echo of other people’s pain, the residue on me, was enough to feel like I was killing her.” He paused and shook his head.
“During that five mile walk as I poured out my heart to Jesus, the Holy Spirit was drawing the pain from the conference right on through me to the cross! The five mile walk was my “spiritual shower!” That was why Mirianna was “more like herself” when I came back! I was different; I was clean. For the first time I understand my wife! Thank you. Now I know I must do the “cleansing prayer” you talked about before I arrive at home. Thank you.” He walked away a happy man.
Before the Lord took me on the “burden bearing” learning curve, I experienced life as a continual, oppressive weight that never let up. I turned to God with it—where else do you go? People did not understand. Doctors said, “You are healthy, fine; there is nothing wrong with you!” Yet, I knew something was dreadfully wrong. I was so tired that I cried out to God for permission to have a nervous breakdown. “Please let me crack so I can go to the hospital and sleep for a few months!”
I heard the Lord’s response very clearly, “No, you will never have a nervous breakdown. Your mind is too strong.”
At the time, those words did not comfort me. They felt very cold. He did not abandon me; He still talked to me, but I felt alone and in a very dark place. I wished He did not think I could endure so much or think I was so strong. I knew the everlasting arms were underneath—I just didn’t know how far down. Nor did David, my husband, know that being the pastor meant that he, and therefore, I, would wear the burdens of the congregation as if they were our own. Unredeemed burden bearing is actually doing the work of the spirit with the strength of the soul. My body and soul cannot carry that much—no one’s can.
You see, unredeemed burden bearing can kill you. Mirianna knew it, and so did I. We did not know what was killing us, only that “something” was.
About the Author
Carol lived in a farming community in Iowa for the first 16 years of life. The family moved to Minnesota where she finished high school and then pursued academics. She met her husband, David, during his seminary internship with Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship in Minneapolis, Minnesota. They married in 1969, and have ministered together across the U.S., Australia, Germany, Finland, and Canada, David as pastor, counselor, and trainer, Carol as educator and helpmate. They have two daughters and five grandchildren.
As an educator Carol has taught 1st grade all through to graduate level classes in English As A Second Language. As an administrator she has organized and administered training schools for Elijah House Ministries, developed curriculum and internships. Carol enjoys nature, music, knitting, crocheting, painting and playing the piano. Her latest adventure is writing. They live in western Michigan and attend house church.
Buy the Book
If you wish to learn about the concept of burden bearing, or high sensitivity, you may wish to have The Mystery of Spiritual Sensitivity…understanding the burdens you receive from God’s heart.