Becoming sensitive to God’s presence in a hypersensitive world

Written by Amber Dobecka
Published on April 30, 2021

“What do you think this is? Chuck E. Cheese?” 

My mom used to say things like that when us kids would be climbing on sofas and jumping off chairs—in inappropriate places, of course. I find it funny how the tables turn and these little lines can come out of my mouth while raising my own kids. 

Despite the fact I constantly have to remind myself that “I’m the boss” while rearing up these little hoodlums of mine, I’ve found that training my kids has trained me to be the child God created me to be. 

Unable to be helped

One of the sweetest joys of being a mom is getting to nurture my inner child as I nurture my own children. The second chance at embracing a childlike spirit actually prompts me to maturity in Christ. 

A few nights ago, around 2 a.m., my four-year-old son stumbled into my bedroom, whining, “I’m all wet.” This was the third night in a row he had wet the bed. Frustration fumed in me. 

I pinned down my initial anger and whispered to him, “It’s okay, honey. Come with me.” 

It was as if my sweet, understanding tone of voice only enabled him to whine more. Not once did he take responsibility for causing the stream of wringing wetness on his clothes and the slippery trail from his room to mine. Rather, he whined as if I was to blame. 

“Mommmmyyyy! No, Mommy, no,” he cried between sobs. “I’m so cold and wet, Mommy!” 

“I know, sweety. Let’s get you undressed and into some new pajamas. I’ll help you. I’ll clean up this mess and get you back in bed.” 

“No, no!” His crying morphed into anger, and he refused to listen. He was stuck, and he was completely offended. 

How could I have asked him to change? To be still? To calm down? He was completely enthralled in his moment of victimhood and unable to be helped. 

I regret to say that in that moment in the dark, I wasn’t as sensitive to my son’s example (the one that shows how we all can get stuck in our own mess) as I am now. Since then, God has revealed just how good of a parent he is to me, especially when I find myself acting like a sensitive little kid. 

Why is it sometimes hard to embrace God’s presence?

The Bible is full of God’s promises to always be with us—that he’ll never leave us (Joshua 1:5). He encourages us not to fear but to have courage (Deuteronomy 31:6). Jesus said that we will go through trouble, but to take heart because he has overcome the world (John 16:33). 

Romans 8:10 also goes on to say that we don’t just have God’s presence in our midst, but that his Spirit is inside us believers, those surrendered to him. 

Why does it feel like sometimes it’s harder to embrace his presence? Why do I feel him in some moments and feel nothing but myself in others? 

I can apply these same questions to my own sons, wondering why some moments they hear me and sense my helping hands and at other moments they don’t. 

My heart is always postured to help them, to be their advocate, and to point them to Jesus. But their response can sometimes indicate that I’m either the enemy or just not there at all. 

A change of perspective in the mundane and mess

Even though I know God is always with me and working in me for my good and to bring what he’s begun to completion (Romans 8:28; Philippians 1:6), I still get stuck in my feelings. I’m naturally a very sensitive, deep thinker and feeler. 

When my feelings get hurt, there are parts of my past that surface. My inner, wounded child begins to whine and cry just like my son. Though I’m being healed and made whole by the Father, there are times where offenses still trip me up. There are times that my God-given sensitivity does not lead me to the Father but traps me in my flesh. 

I wonder how God feels when we allow our offenses to become fences keeping us from embracing his presence. All the power and goodness he desires to demonstrate is blocked. 

Surrendering my offenses to God and becoming sensitive to him rather than sensitive to my flesh and feelings is the biggest battle for me. It’s not that his presence comes and goes, but it’s that my awareness of his presence does. 

To awaken our awareness of his immutable, unconditional love and omnipresence—that’s why we must surrender daily. We do this by beckoning a change of our perspective right in the middle of the mundane and the mess. 

It’s possible that nothing can change on the outside, but everything can change on the inside. Everything about our awareness of the Father’s presence based on our perspective and attitude can change when we decide to surrender. Knowing about God is not enough. We must seek to know God himself. 

A Spirit-filled parent

I’ve learned that I grow closer to God and understand him like a loving parent the most when I practice the discipline of being a spirit-filled parent myself. 

It’s trial and error, and it’s confession then repentance. It’s humility in action, and, many times, it’s apologizing to my kids. It’s using whatever time I can give, whether I’m on the treadmill, washing dishes, or folding laundry, to worship and pray and daily commune with my Father. 

It’s deciding that he knows me better than I think—like I’d say about my own kids. 

It’s trusting that he knows more than me, and even when I feel like sitting in the loneliness of my pity party, he’s calling to me. He’s pleading with me to come sit in his lap so he can sing me back into his perfect peace. 

“The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing” (Zephaniah 3:17, ESV). 

Specifically chosen for our kids

So, what is God calling us to do as parents of sensitive kids? 

The simple answer requires the simple gospel. We’re to know deeply that we’ve been handpicked by the perfect parent to be the earthly parents to the kids we’ve been given. 

He chose us specifically to raise up these little arrows. Out of everyone in the world, he gave me my specific children. When we understand who we are in Christ and what our heavenly Father truly thinks of us, we can encourage our kids to know the perfect parent. 

We embrace God’s presence ourselves, and we pray for divine encounters between the Holy Spirit and our loved ones. 

We’re not to see ourselves as either the source of their calling or the cause of their failures. We’re to see our kids as a way God both teaches us about who we are and who he is. 

Being a parent reminds us of his calling on our life as his own precious children.

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Amber Dobecka

Amber Dobecka found Jesus as a little girl but has since fallen in love with Him as she’s learned the value of falling on her knees. As a firefighter’s wife and mom of two boys with another munchkin on the way, God keeps teaching her how to find joy in the struggle and grow stronger through pain. She discovered her passion to inspire others through her experiences as a former fitness instructor, program director and wellness coach. She cheered and graduated from Baylor University — Sic ‘Em. She’s written articles for wellness publications like Forward Movement, International Sports Sciences Association, and local media. After leaving the fitness industry to build her home, Amber’s found fulfillment in exploring the unlimited faithfulness of the Father. Her duties now humbly include changing diapers, refilling sippy cups and feeding the goats and pony.

 

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