If there was any doubt as to the stance of the Bible on being kind to oneself, the answer lies in 1 Corinthians 3:16, which states that the body is a temple. Christ recognized the light that shone within each of us and encouraged His disciples to live in such a way that they could share this positive, kind, compassionate light with others. Some people, however, are not able to share the best of themselves with others because they are addicted to chaos; in other words, they feel most comfortable with, and therefore seek out, people, situations and environments which are filled with tension and drama.
When chaotic is comfortable
If you know someone who is attracted to chaos, it is important to understand that they may embrace this way of life because it is what they have grown up with. When they were children, their parents may have communicated by shouting and screaming or there may have been drug or alcohol abuse in the home. When a house is filled with tension, chaos becomes ‘normal’ and people can become surprisingly uncomfortable when there is too much peace or stability in their lives. There is a difference between being attracted to tension and being addicted to it; addiction is present when one is unable to function normally in a work, social or family setting. It can be witnessed in some people who have quit drug or alcohol use; instead of feeling happy about their newfound stability, they can provoke a fight or otherwise create a tension-filled situation, as a way of managing their anxiety.
How to manage an addiction to chaos
To leave addiction behind, it is vital to change your heart through the power of the Holy Spirit. When you are born again and you receive Jesus as you Savior and Lord, you are liberated and you can begin to follow the example set by Jesus, of compassion, sacrifice and love for others. Jesus died because he loved you, so you should not feel guilty about loving yourself, treating yourself kindly and taking all the steps you need to enjoy the true wonder that comes from a peaceful life.
Faith is a pillar, but so, too, should your deeds reflect the new, free person that you are. Identify all the relationships, people and circumstances that have brought chaos to your life in the past. You may not necessarily be able to make immediate changes, but you can definitely lean on the Lord to help you make a long-term plan. For instance, you may be unhappy because you are in the wrong job; we all have obligations in life, and it may be impossible for you to leave your job immediately. However, you can begin to make changes that will enable you to find more suitable employment in the future (for instance, by studying a course).
When you have been freed from chaos, try not to ‘relapse’ into your old behavior. If you find that when you are tense, you provoke an argument with your spouse or you feel tempted to indulge in drugs or alcohol, remember that Christ lives inside you and that as a Christian, it is your duty to ensure that both body and mind are temples. Avoid toxic substances, places and people, since they will offer you temptations which are best avoided.
Your faith will also stand you in good stead when it comes to setting your own limits. As Christians, it is our duty to help others when they have problems, to sacrifice material and other needs to help those who are ill, suffering or poor. However, this does not mean that we should allow others to use us as a punching bag. We all know people who love dwelling in negativity; those who constantly criticize others or complain incessantly, even when things are going well. This type of person may actually be what you once were before you welcomed Christ into your heart: a person who is addicted to chaos. Speak to them about your faith and how it has helped free you from addiction, but do not be guilty about seeking distance if you feel your personal limits have been overstepped.
By Laura Graf
To view the article, “Are You Addicted to Chaos” by Lindsay Kramer, go to: http://www.recovery.org/pro/articles/are-you-addicted-to-chaos/