God bless this woman for writing this: When church hurts. I’ve wanted to write this post about attending church being painful for a long time, but it took her willingness to write her post to prod me on to write mine.
Church truly is painful and hurts sometimes. And maybe not for the reasons you think.
Highly Sensitive People and Church
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.
Options for Highly Sensitive Children and Church
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.