Discovering Spiritual Truths & Celebrating God's Grace in the Every Day Happenings of Life.
This past Tuesday night at our council meeting, our esteemed president shared an acronym that he heard via a YouTube preacher. H.A.L.T. It has stuck with me. I’m not sure what the origins are of this; they are not with the preacher. A quick google search reveals it is also used in counseling settings and chemical dependency treatments centers. It refers to four areas of life which, when lacking or out of balance, can be when we are most vulnerable to relapses based on our physical or emotional well-being—or lack thereof. These relapses can come in the form of unkindness, lashing out, depression, and so on. In spiritual terms, these are the moments when we are easy prey for attack by our archenemy, the devil. The devil perceives a weakness within us and he pounces. We then fall into sin; we hurt others or ourselves. H.A.L.T. stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely and Tired. Though not an exhaustive list, these are four situations in our lives where we need to be very aware that the enemy is out to use moments of insufficiencies against us.
Fittingly, the actual definition of the word ‘halt’ tells us precisely what to do when our lives are on shaky ground, when we are plagued by these types of despair. “a verb (used with or without object): to stop; cease moving, operating, etc., either permanently or temporarily.” Think about it… God Himself stopped the work of creation on the seventh day to rest—thus prescribing it to each of us in the third commandment, “Remember the Sabbath day.” He rested because His creative work was complete. He rested because He knew, many years later, harried children like you and me, would be high-stressed and jam-packed with busy schedules, always anxiously bustling from one commitment to the next. This is a divine and ordained summons to find calm and step away from the chaos. This is the Lord’s way of telling us to halt. And even though God made it part of the beginning of creation and made it even more vital as a commandment, it is one of the pieces of our faith we’re most likely to ignore. Stop for a moment. Evaluate. Assess before you get burned out. Consider the acronym. Where is your deficiency? Diagnose it before the demands of life-on-the-go leave you exhausted, unbalanced and agitated.
Jesus has something similar to say about this in Matthew 11:28 (NLT): “Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” The word translated 'rest' here is a word that literally means 'tranquility in the midst of labor.' Jesus wasn't telling the disciples to take the week off, but to be spiritually still before Him. That is what He wants from us too. Meditating on His word in the midst of screaming kids, spending time talking to Him over a pile of laundry that needs to be folded, surrendering some of your mind’s greatest burdens, and confidently trusting that He will guide the mundane tasks of your day. Jesus invites us to reprioritize and take ample time to rest. Relax. Unplug. Find relief from the stress. Put down your phones. Push away from the computers. Leaving the responsibilities of work at work. Give your body time to refuel. Allowing your mind to be renewed. Let your emotions be refreshed and restored. God invites us to return to the arms of our Savior who provides the care and protection, the grace and peace that we need to ensure the evil one doesn’t destroy us in moments of anger or tiredness. Jesus wants to meet us in times of rest to remember our relationship with Him.
“For I will satisfy the weary soul, and every languishing soul I will replenish.” Jeremiah 31:25