You woke up at 4:30 a.m. to squealing garbage truck brakes and banging trash cans tossed onto the driveway. You had to cancel your long overdue lunch with a friend to handle an urgent personnel issue. The day was spent fielding questions, solving problems, counseling others, and taking a call from the school about your child’s behavior. Then, your intense board meeting dragged on until 10:00 p.m. You skipped breakfast. Forgot lunch. Dinner was a Snickers bar.
All you want is to get home and curl up with Netflix and a bowl of ice cream. Maybe mindlessly scroll your Facebook feed. The tank is on “E” so you stop for gas, but the pump won’t read your card. Inside the mini-mart, you begin to fume as you wait behind the guy buying scratch offs. One. After the other. After the other. You feel the tsunami of anger welling up behind you, about to drown the poor clerk, and scratch off customer.
Who IS this imposter, about to snatch your body and knash teeth at innocent mini-mart prey? Surely, it isn’t YOU. Yet, in this inescapable moment, it is.
If we are honest, we’ve all been there. Your day may not have looked exactly the same, but the pattern is hauntingly familiar. And it leaves us highly vulnerable to temptations, damaging emotional outbursts, and poor health.
Next time you feel that tsunami rolling up from behind to thrust the ugly alter ego into life, try a little self care check-in that I learned in rehab. It’s simple. And it works.
HALT is an acronym for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. It also means stop. Immediately. As in, you will get hit by the bus if you take one more step.
Ask yourself: Am I hungry, angry, lonely, or tired? If the answer is, “Yes” to any of these feelings, it’s time to HALT. Stop what you are doing. Right now. Go get that need met. It’s more urgent than you think.
We are thoughtfully and wonderfully made. God has given us amazing bodies to accomplish his purposes in our finite lifetime in this world. He also expects us to take care of them. It’s not selfish. It’s stewardship.
Our physiology requires us to have nutrition, emotional well-being, connection to others, and sleep. If one or more of these are neglected, the whole thing begins to break down. It’s like running a car too long without oil. Your engine is gonna blow.
So the next time you’re tempted to surf the Web where you shouldn’t, overspend in a late-night online shopping spree, or blow your top at an innocent bystander, HALT. Better yet, HALT like a routine check of the weather, so you can stop that tsunami while it’s still a rain shower. Take a moment to HALT right now. You’ll be glad you did.