In a bit of an irritated state, I was driving down the freeway listening to NPR when an expert-like man shared about something profound. I made a point to memorize the acronym he gave so I could chew on it and process it for myself.
And once I processed it, I realized just how true his words were.
We tend to be our meanest and most irritable when we are experiencing HALT. Curious? Here’s what HALT means:
My husband has a sixth sense (well, it’s actually not that special, as I’m particularly irritable when I’m hungry) when I need to eat. He’ll look at me after I’ve snapped at him or the kids and ask, “When was the last time you ate?” Ah, such tact. 🙂 But it’s true. When I’m hungry, I’m crabby. I don’t respond with grace. The solution? Food.
And I certainly don’t connect well when my mind’s running around a bout of anger. Often anger is a result of an unmet expectation we had. Or a slight we’ve perceived. Or a trigger that brings us back to an old wound. To diffuse it, we need to ask ourselves why we’re angry, give that anger to God, offer forgiveness when appropriate, and choose to let it dissipate.
When I’m lonely, I’m particularly vulnerable to sin and spouting off. I try to make people fill my needs instead of viewing others as folks to serve with joy. Besides connecting deeply with the people I love, the other solution to my loneliness is Jesus. To run to Him when I’m feeling on the outer circle. To settle myself in His true, all-encompassing love.
Oh dear. When I’m tired, I really go off. Do you? I’ve struggled with insomnia for 19 years now. There are times I don’t sleep for days, and when that happens, not only am I inept (and should be prohibited from) operating heavy machinery, but I’m crabby to the nth degree. I have learned how to control it, usually. But when I travel, things get really hard for me. I simply don’t sleep. Which is why I ask my prayer team to pray for sleep when I travel. Obviously the answer is to make sure you get good sleep, but if you’re an insomniac, that isn’t always easy to do.
So where’s your HALT quotient today? Are you hungry? Angry? Lonely? Tired? If you are, then you’re in a precarious place where you could respond poorly. Lay this all out before Jesus. Don’t skip practical solutions. (Eat! Repent! Connect! Sleep!) And ask God to enable you to live in His strength instead of responding by your weakness.