Sensory Input Overwhelming? (You are not alone!)

Photo Courtesy of Better Homes & Gardens

Holy Spirit has been shedding light on some things, putting things together in ways that I had never thought about before.

As Easter approaches I’ve been pondering Gethsemane and all that Jesus endured. I had an “aha” moment when the Holy Spirit reminded me, rather painfully, of how in the past, I had felt rather badly that Peter and John were unable to stay awake and be with Jesus in His time of need. But I have learned something about the human body that makes me regret the “tsk, tsk” that I felt, even if I never voiced it.

What I learned is that the central nervous system has a limited capacity (and since each of us is unique, so will that capacity be unique to each individual). Just like electrical wiring, our nervous system can only carry the amount of stimuli for which it was designed. Once you reach that amount, you will throw a circuit breaker, so to speak., and the system shuts down before it is damaged.

I can imagine the furrowed brows and questioning looks. So, let me give you an example. I was a soloist years ago. When I would go to church on Sundays, I would be there for only a few minutes before I would begin to yawn. The pastor would call on me to sing and there would be ABSOLUTELY NO  yawning. But the moment I returned to my seat the yawing started.

This both puzzled and distressed me greatly. I repented regularly for appearing so bored that I would yawn in the Lord’s face! I mentioned it one time to my friend Dr. Jim Wilder, who also is a psychologist and researcher.

Knowing that I am highly sensitive, he explained that the yawning was the signal that my para-sympathetic nervous system was shutting down from sensory overload. I was encountering too many burdens in the people around me for my spirit to process, turn into prayers for the people and then off load them to Jesus. Too many burdens coming too fast for my nervous system to process!

I think that is exactly what was happening with Peter and John. They were with Jesus as He was taking on the sins of the world—the past, present and future. The force of the burdens coming upon Him at that time would have overloaded anyone’s nervous system! It was so powerful it actually made Jesus sweat blood. That is serious pressure.

Remember that I didn’t have to touch anyone, be praying for them or anything—I was just in the vicinity, and I would begin to experience sensory overload and yawn. Peter and John were Jesus closest friends and in the vicinity of unimaginable pain, trouble and despair…they were human beings with finite capacity. No wonder they were out cold!

I have much more respect for these rugged pioneers of our faith. I also want to refrain from even thinking, much less acting like, “Come on, boys. All He’s asking is an hour of your time…” There is an underlying rebuke in that and I do not want to judge, not even a little bit!

Has Holy Spirit been shedding some light on something in your life, putting things together in ways you had not thought before? I’d appreciate your sharing so that we can all be uplifted. Just drop you “aha” in the comment box.

Blessings, Carol                                                                                                                        

10 Responses to Sensory Input Overwhelming? (You are not alone!)

  1. This is beautiful:)
    LOVE IT!

  2. I really like the new blog look! You’ve got some wonderful material here.

  3. You make some excellent points here, Carol. I have experienced the yawning phenomenon many times myself from sensory overload. It’s important to remember the disciples were just as human as the rest of us in terms of their physical limitations. Keep up the good work!

    • Avatar says:

      Yes! I think we have a tendency to think of them as somewhat super-human. Like they were made of better stuff than we are…but probably not! Thanks for highlighting that.

  4. The new name and website is wonderful. Light overcoming the darkness. Congratulations

  5. I also notice that when I pray to break of spiritual strongholds I also yawn. I’m under the impression something is happening int he spirit realm. Great post. Am looking forward to all I will learn here. 🙂

  6. Both my mother and I have noticed we yawn whenever we begin praying. It bothers her I think a little more than it does me. Today I came across your website and this is the first time I’ve heard of the term ‘high sensitivity’ with regards to spirituality, and without negative connotations. I’m interested in exploring this a little more, and hopefully shed some light into the yawning (and other things I might discover) – because surely there’s more to it all than warfare!
    Thanks 🙂

    • Avatar says:

      Yes, Zawadi, there is much more to it than just warfare! There’s purpose, calling, and destiny as well as biology involved. If you would like to explore more, both of my books on the topic are available as ebooks through Amazon or Destiny Image, the publisher. You will find a bit more explanation of spiritual high sensitivity on my website Blessings on your journey! Carol

    • Avatar says:

      Dear Zawadi, Yes, there is more to it than just warfare! Being highly sensitive is about our central nervous system. Highly sensitive people take in lots more sensory data than most, which means that a little goes a long way. That is true physically and emotionally. Too many people, too much activity, loud noises, lots of lights–these things can overwhelm our system and we want to get away from the stimulation. That’s why we need quiet and alone time. But that same sensitivity also means we can hear and some can see and interact with God. There is a lot involved and yes, it affects just about every area of life!