Do you think of yourself as a hypervigilant person?
Maybe you don’t feel fully comfortable unless you are the one in charge.
Maybe you learned a long time ago not to let other people do things for you, because it won’t turn out well.
Do you find yourself repeating self-sufficient statements without even thinking about it?
“Oh, that’s okay. Really. I’ll take care of it.”
“I need to do it so it’s done correctly.”
“I refuse to be a burden.”
“I’m going to do everything I can to make sure I’m safe and protected.”
Hypervigilance is often a result of trying to get our needs met in an unhealthy way. Many of us learned as children to make our needs invisible to others, so we wouldn’t get hurt. We discovered it was safer and easier if we just took care of our needs ourselves or if we denied their existence.
From our perspective, having needs makes us vulnerable and open to pain. But that is not how God wants us to think about our needs—those tender, potentially aching places in our hearts. He is our Father, and He wants to take care of us.
How God Made Human Needs
Here are a few unexpected truths about needs:
If having needs is a good thing—what went wrong? Why do so many of us struggle with having them?
Why is it so hard to trust God where our needs are concerned?
What We Learned as Kids and How It Still Affects Us Today
Human needs look like comfort, value, touch, protection, physical care, security, etc.
When these needs are met consistently during childhood, we experience life on earth the way God designed it. We begin to trust and bond with others. We learn how to regulate our emotions, and we are able to receive love and return love. That is the simple purpose all of us were created for—to receive love and to share that love with others.
The problem is, many of us were not necessarily loved well as children. We learned to hide our needs, or we learned to strive—to push ourselves, relying on our own strength. The enemy whispered lies to us, and we learned to believe those lies.
In unhealthy situations, instead of our needs being a gateway for love and relationship, they become a gateway to pain, hiding, bitterness, and false beliefs about ourselves and Father God.
Unmet needs can lead us into a host of different addictions: alcohol, drugs, busyness, food, sex, fantasy, withdrawal from others, etc. We have trouble trusting others.
And—to one degree or another—we can find ourselves living in a hypervigilant state, always on our guard. “No one else is going to take care of me, so I have to do it.”
When We Are Hypervigilant and Stressed Out, What Can We Do?
What we need is the healing of the Lord. Our parents might have done a poor job of meeting our needs when we were kids—but He knows exactly what we need, and He has many beautiful ways of taking care of our hearts.
He says the needy will be able to rest in safety. Isn’t that just what your heart is crying out for today?
The poorest of the poor will eat,and the needy will lie down in safety. (Isa. 14:30 NOG)
Prayer Points for Healing
The following prayer points are not a formula. They don’t need to be prayed all at once or in any particular order. Instead, listen to the Holy Spirit and pray as He leads your heart:
If you are a hypervigilant person who needs to finally, blessedly relax in life—go to your heavenly Father and ask Him to fill your heart with His truth.
Is He going to protect you? Yes.
Is He going to love you without ceasing? Yes.
Is He going to always be there for you? Yes.
To hear more about this topic, check out the following resources from Elijah House:
• Growing Pains: How to Overcome Life’s Earliest Experiences to Become All God Wants You to Be