Many people find they need extra time to wind down before they can begin to relax. Some individuals know this pattern so well that they plan their vacations around it. “I have to take at least a two-week vacation because it takes me almost a week to relax, then a few days just to sleep, and then I can have a couple of really enjoyable days.”

With more severe stress addiction, people may be totally unable to relax unless they do something that gives them their fix of stress chemicals. Many people choose jogging or some other physically stressing activity. Such activities provide enough chemicals to keep withdrawal symptoms at bay, while freeing the mind from normal worries and work tasks.

It is in the realm of spiritual practice, however, that attachment to stress becomes most obvious. Spending time in quiet, receptive openness is an essential part of prayer, meditation, and most other spirtual practices. For many modern spiritual pilgrims, the simple matter of taking time for daily prayer can become a battle of will excruciatingly similar to chemical addiction. The mind can generate wondrous excuses to do something instead of just being open and present. Issues of control and willpower, surrender and defeat rage with all the drama of true spiritual warfare.

There are many things all of us might rather avoid in prayer: relinquishing our sense of self-mastery; hearing what God might ask of us; facing the self-knowledge that comes to us in quiet. And now, increasing numbers of us are discovering that we would rather not experience the discomfort of being peaceful.

Prayer: So often, God, I find it difficult to simply be quiet and alone with you and myself. Set me free from my addiction to activity and stress.

-Gerald G. May- excerpt taken from 1 Samuel 16: 14-25  NIV Recovery Devotional Bible

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