My husband, Bruce and I were introduced to one of these creative gems at a youth Bible study. But like other pieces of useful information that get crowded out by life, I needed a reminder of this helpful acronym during a situation we faced.
I figured it might come in handy for others too, so I’ll share it with y’all. So, here goes. H.A.L.T.: Halt if you are:
Oh my. When I’m hungry, I fall into the “whatever” mood category: “I don’t care, just get it done.”; “Let’s just get there.”; or, “I don’t care what we do, I just need a snack.”
And everyone knows to never go near a grocery store with a growling stomach. The junk food retailer’s stock skyrockets every time on this one!
*A: ANGRY: Stay tuned. I’ll come back to this one.
I’ve made some pretty bonehead moves when I was lonely (I won’t elaborate).
I figure I’d better not do anything while I’m tired. I may be convinced I’m coherent, but realize later…hmmmm, not so much. I’ve glanced at sent texts and emails and realized: Yeah, should have waited.
I’ve left the “A” part for last. Being lonely, or tired, or hungry can drive us to make less than stellar decisions. But angry? This one might be the worst decision-driving emotion ever. For it’s with anger that words are said, actions are taken, and destinies determined that may never, except by the grace of God, ever be fixed.
A healthy dose of self-control curbs emotions and can be a handy little tool to douse the spark that could cause a potential wildfire—a wildfire that destroys a lot of ground and a lot of people.
Which brings me to the following “situation we faced” and thankfully in this case, I listened and obeyed that Giver of self-control …
The wall our back was shoved against left indents in my shoulder blades. And the friend who could have helped us, betrayed us.
My hands shook as I pounded out a text message on my cell phone in response to one of her stunts. My thumb hovered over the send button when a still small voice cut through the flame, “Don’t do anything in anger.” I knew this to be true, but I so wanted to fire off that text!
However, I paused. I glanced over at Bruce who, not 15 minutes before, snapped, “That woman’s gonna push me too far!”
I read him my text, a little part of me hoping for validation and the confirmation to hit that little green button. He looked around at me and to my surprise said calmly, “Don’t do anything in anger.”
Like cold water on a hot flame, I realized God was confirming His word to me. My phone fairly flew across the counter as I shoved it away. I knew one twitch out of me would have sent that text flyin’.
I cooled down, grateful I didn’t send this text. The day before, as I was ranting and flinging manure across my horse’s stall into the bin, the Lord gave me a serious command: “Hold your peace, vengeance is mine.” And then started chatting with me about forgiveness. It would not have been wise to ignite any fires with my message. (“Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil (Ephesians 4:26-27).
God knows what He’s doing when He tells us to H.A.L.T. before making a decision. Take a breath, scarf an energy bar, take a nap. Whatever it takes that’s moral and decent with no side effects, we need to do it. Nothing is worse than having to undo an unwise move. I’d rather not spend the energy to apologize, lament over an excessive grocery bill, or explain why I sounded like a dork. I’d like to act right the first time and avoid cleaning up a mess.
So, the next time we face a challenge or a decision while we’re hungry, angry, lonely, or tired … and we will … join me in implementing H.A.L.T.. Our lives will be much more peaceful and productive for it.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law (Galatians 5:22-23).
*Exciting announcement!* Walk Like a Warrior: Inspirational True Stories of God's Encouragement on the Trail Less-Traveled is now available in print and Kindle editions through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and the WestBow Press bookstore.