What Does It Mean…

…to be highly sensitive? It means that your central nervous system is very finely tuned; you take in more sensory data than most people. And it means you have the necessary neural hardware to be a natural burden bearer.

…to be a burden bearer? You are able to know or understand something of another person’s inner state of being in some sensory way, carry the pain or trouble to the cross, and pray passionately, inviting Jesus into the situation or circumstance based upon what you have sensed from the person and from God’s own heart. The Holy Spirit within you gathers up the burden from every place in you that it has gone, draws it through you, lifts it up and out of you, and places it on the cross of Christ. Natural burden bearers are highly sensitive. (From the front matter of my book, Highly Sensitive.)

The term “natural” is used in the sense that we say someone is a natural…baseball player, runner, pianist, teacher, parent–they are good at what they do and they do it with ease. They are a natural! For highly sensitive people it is so easy for them to sense what is going on with another that they are often surprised to learn that everyone else in the world does not experience life this way! Yet many live their lives with a sense that there is something different about them. Below are some symptoms of high sensitivity or characteristice of a burden bearer. Do you:

  • Have difficulty with bright lights, loud noises and large crowds (over-stimulation)?
  • Need recovery time away from stimulation, noise or activity?
  • Have a vivid imagination?
  • Stay  attuned to family needs and try to help actively or passively in any way you can?
  • Are attuned to and affected by others moods?
  • Have times of excessive emotion–responses seem extreme, whether it be grief, anger, sadness or  tears over physical hurts?
  • Have times of uncharacteristic behavior when you don’t “act like yourself?”
  • Have tender feelings that are easily hurt
  • Appear shy and quiet?
  • Feel vulnerable to sadnes or depression?
  • Feel you lose your individuality around strong personalities or intense inner turmoil?
  • See, smell or sense things others cannot see, smell or sense?
  • Know things ahead of time, or things others did not tell you?
  • Cut the tags out of your shirts and sweathers because they irritate?

If you answered “yes” to a number of these characteristics 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! For more on how to live with the “gift” and thrive, see my book, Highly Sensitive.