In the first three articles, we have been thinking about Ahimaaz, an overly sensitive man who wanted to cushion bad news coming to his king. In this final article, we work on helping the OSC (Overly Sensitive Christian) be balanced and content.
Gaining Victory How can the overly sensitive Christian glorify God? How do we defeat being overly sensitive? Suppose you are feeling under-valued, forgotten.
First, recognize what is happening to you a feeling. And feelings (emotions) can fool us. At the moment, they seem very powerful. Life dominating. All important. But the next day or the next week, they assume their proper (smaller) place in our lives.
Second, this is a common experience. All of us are forced into situations where we feel uncomfortable, unwanted or unappreciated. I Corinthians 10:13 says such experiences are common to all people.
Third, fellowship provides perspective. Over the years, my wife has told me to let go of various negative experiences. Not dwell on it. Others can be more objective for us than we can for ourselves. While we don’t share our feelings with everyone, there should be a few friends we can share our hearts with.
Dale is one such friend for me. Good friend. We are together for 90 minutes every two or three weeks. We have been honest with each other about our sinfulness. We are fellow strugglers. We sit in his car or mine after we have lunch and pray together.
Dale has told me something I would not have imagined – because he is so successful, especially spiritually successful. He told me he has experienced being ignored where he works (he is a university professor). Two factors created his sense of isolation: (1) he is a Christian and (2) because several years ago, he did not do a good job on a faculty assignment. So he is ignored.
Giving me perspective, he cheered me up by speaking of areas and situations in which God was using me to have a positive influence. Dale said, “Do not dwell on being ignored in social occasions that are rare. Focus on areas where God is using you to change lives. Practice Philippians 4:8, 9.”
Fourth, because sin has broken the human race, we can give too much attention to being slighted. We can have many things going right and be happy in most areas of our lives. But because we are sinners, if one or two things are sensitive, wrong or troubling, we can fix our attention on those few problems and all the good that God is doing can be forgotten. Haman said, “But all of this [his vast wealth, his many sons, being honored by the king, being elevated above other nobles, and invited to a special banquet] give me no satisfaction as long as I see that Jew Mordecai sitting at the king’s gate” (Esther 5:13). Many things were right, one thing was wrong and Haman fixated on the one thing he did not have. We also can so focus on one disappointment, one hurt, one injustice, one problem person, or one disagreement so much that everything else we have brings us no pleasure. Let’s not be Hamanites.
Fifth, as previously mentioned in article # 3, don’t slip into idolatry. We can thirst for approval in a way and to the degree that approval becomes an idol to us. What! Me? Idolatry! No way! Yes, maybe you and maybe me. How? It is possible to make an idol out of the approval of others. We can turn our desire to be affirmed, praised, or encouraged into an idol.
It is God’s approval that matters. Don’t expect more approval from people than is spiritually healthy. And don’t give people that much power over you. Don’t crave their approval so much that you go into a tailspin if you don’t get it. Instead, know that you are secure in Christ. Seek His approval through daily obedience and a healthy, balanced emotional life.5
So let’s defeat the devil. Cheat the evil one. Focus on your strengths. Think about how God is using you. Don’t lick your wounds about feeling ignored in some social situation.
Serve the Lord Jesus Christ – He is the One who gives us value, and He will never leave you or forsake you. Engage in Christian service, because there’s something about telling others about the wounds of Christ that heals our own wounds. That’s how life works in God’s spiritual chemistry laboratory. Getting our eyes off ourselves is a key to victory.
Ahimaazes Should Listen and Moderate their Efforts Those who recognize themselves as Ahimaazes would do well to listen to their mates and friends around them to moderate their insistence on pouring themselves out when the potential gain is slight.
Non-Ahimaazes, please help your Ahimaaz friendssee some of their unrealistic expectations. Help them see reality. You can moderate their idealism, and soften their disappointment when things do not work out as Mr. / Mrs. Sensitive planned.
God Uses the Ahimaaz Personality, so Treat him / her with Respect On the other hand, those who are not wired by God this way need to realize the positive influence these Ahimaaz-types can have on others. Don’t dismiss them as mush-headed idealists who do nothing practical. Love, kindness and personal attention is what the world is crying for . . . and your Ahimaaz is ready to supply it.
Since a good leader is one who helps those under their care reach their full potential, resolve to (1) not look down on an overly sensitive Christian as hopelessly emotional and (2) determine to assist that person to attain their full potential, while protecting them from themselves when they need it.
5. The Christian life is called a “walk,” not a sprint, nor is it being parked. But a steady, stable walk.