I was talking with a friend who likes to drive in the fast lane. He thrives on trying to get more done in less time in order to be successful. He’s very productive… and stressed.
He doesn’t realize that he’s continually recruiting adrenaline to give him the boost of energy and confidence that he feels he needs to handle all of his responsibilities. His body’s production of adrenaline is like his own drug manufacturing plant! He has adrenaline dependence.
Other people get their adrenaline hits through extreme sports, risky behavior, or loud music.
Adrenaline is God’s gift to us. It’s meant to help us respond to emergencies and urgent needs. Used sparingly it’s a good thing. Used continually, it wears down your body and diminishes your life. (Doctors have called this “hurry sickness.”) You get to the point where it’s hard to slow down and enjoy the little blessings in each day – birds singing, children playing, relaxing with a friend, prayer.
It’s difficult for people like my friend to get off of adrenaline. It feels so good! It helps them to get more done. And when they slow down (and aren’t stimulating themselves with adrenaline) they feel tired, empty, and depressed.
I myself have overcome adrenaline dependence. And I’ve helped pastors and other leaders get off the destructive habit of relying on the body’s “speed.”
Freedom comes with learning to set boundaries on work and “urgent” demands and slow down your pace of life. It can be helpful to practice slowing down your pace of life by driving in the slow lane on the road in order to enjoy music (that’s not too loud!) or to pray. Best of all is to learn the value of spending large blocks of time in silence and solitude in order to “be still” with Jesus. (Start with 30 minutes and build from there.)
Slowing down can’t be learned in a “self-help” program. You might have adrenaline withdrawals. You’ll probably feel bored, restless, or insignificant. You need to “process” your emotions with someone and to get coaching on learning new ways of coping with stress.
“Hurry Up and Be Still” will guide you onto the path of peace.