When Attending Church is Painful – Highly Sensitive Children and Adults

When Attending Church is Painful – Highly Sensitive Children and Adults

When Attending Church is Painful – Highly Sensitive Children and Adults

Oh my word.  God bless this woman for writing this: When church hurts. I’ve wanted to write this post for a long time, but it took her willingness to write her post to prod me on to write mine.

People who aren’t highly sensitive don’t begin to understand how exhausting church is for some people, especially highly sensitive children. The noise, the bumping, the smells, the navigating, the loudness, the perfume, the demands to be friendly… And if you are a highly sensitive introvert… There is no rest in any way at church. It takes me a full day to recover from a church service. I’m usually still exhausted the next morning. No joke.

Caroline and I both endure church, each in our own ways.  Caroline will spend over a third of the service with her hands over her ears, even at a relatively quiet church (compared to what goes on in so many today). I take her out for a third of the service, and she finds a way to cope with the rest. She does not enjoy church. And I really don’t blame her. It’s not about worshiping God for her most of the time. It’s about coping and waiting for it to end so she can get out of the overwhelming noise and stimulation.

I sooooooo get what this mom is writing about even though it sounds like the situation is much more difficult with her son.

Like some people in her comments, we’re thinking a home church is really our only option at this point. Everything else is just too much. I want Caroline to love Jesus and not equate Him with enduring a horrible routine every Sunday. Sunday has been something we have had to endure. It should not be. God gave us the Sabbath to rest. If the prescribed way to do “rest” by our current Christian culture causes us to dread Sunday and spend it exhausted, then I have to believe God will meet us in other ways. He knit us together in our mother’s womb and knows our frailties. I do believe it is far more important to meet with God in a peaceful and joyful way than to endure something because it is what others expect of us.

3 thoughts on “When Attending Church is Painful – Highly Sensitive Children and Adults

  1. James Williamson

    Oh yes a tricky one indeed I have to say my highly sensitive daughter seems to quite like going these days but hasnt always I think it helps we have moved to a modern church where she sees children from her class, gets to draw and last but not least eats chocolate biscuits at the end.

  2. Cem

    Hi Sallie,


    Thanks for this!  I had already read, When church hurts, and am glad to see more people joining the conversation.  This is our situation too.   My daughter and I have stopped going.  I miss it, but she is so relieved.  Eventually I will return and go alone while my dh stays wih her, but for now that’s not an option.  I too want her to love God and know His love without painful associations.  We are also Homeschooling because she had asked not to go to school, for now at least.  But all of these decisions have led to freedom and more peace in our family!   I do feel God’s blessing. Thanks again!

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