Sometimes 'things' in life can get to the point that you feel like you're overwhelmed and out of control, especially near the holidays. 'Things' can come rushing at us like a flood that leaves our minds and hearts in shambles. When you are struggling to maintain your perspective, when life's disappointments leave you frustrated, what do you do?
We can always find a reason to justify running away from life's hurts. There are times we want to rush for something, anything, to just dull the pain, take away the pressure. Whatever it takes to rid us of those feelings of being out of control; stuck in the flood of thoughts and feelings. OR we can find the rhythm of grace that will settle our thoughts and free us from the flood.
HALT is a strategy that we should be passing on to each other and to the next generation.
Ask yourself these questions. Are you:
The answers to these simple questions can change the rhythm of your thoughts.
Hungry. Nutrition and how our bodies contribute to the management of our outlook is many times overlooked. Are you eating regularly? Some people need to eat several smaller meals and for others healthy snacking is important. What's right for you? (You might seek advice from a professional) Make some good changes to your diet and see how your new approach to food might change the your rhythm of your thoughts.
Angry. That's a big one. When we are overwhelmed by anger we can easily slip into intolerance mode. Nothing and nobody can change our minds one little bit. One good thing about anger is that we usually recognize it easily enough. We know we are angry. Whatever or whoever is stealing your joy. Take back your joy! Vent to a trusted confidant. Getting it all out there can help you see the issue with new perspective. Let me suggest this; forgiveness is answer, not a last resort. What you can't change about the other person or the situation can be frustrating. Forgiveness is something that you CAN do to change the rhythm of your thoughts and your feelings.
Lonely. This is another one that can be easily overlooked. Loneliness can happen in a room full of people. You see people and talk to people all day, so how can you be lonely? We can be surface friends with many and not have deep wells with any. What does that mean? When we are casual friends with someone they don't know the real you. When you have a friend that you can talk with about the deep things that challenge your thoughts you can draw from their deep well of experiences and discoveries and so can they. Find a deep well friend. Not easy, but it is worth the challenge of the search.
Tired. When we are overwhelmed by circumstances we tend to go, and go, and go to the bitter end. We can believe that sleep and rest are luxuries that we can't afford. Wrong! Rest and sleep are necessary for our brains to function normally. I know when I am tired my brain can be slow to engage. Words will come out of my mouth that should have stayed behind my teeth, my thoughts can take me hostage and keep me from behaving as myself. Stop going and take time to restore your system. Rest and sleep are important tactics in maintaining your rhythm.
Move the comma. Make a change that changes your outcome instead of tumbling head over heals in the flood.
In the King James Version Isaiah 59:19 reads like this:"
So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him.
Move the comma and it changes your perspective. (Disclaimer: I heard someone else preach this. There is some speculation that the original language intent was for the comma to be in this new position)
"So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in, like a flood the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him.
HALT is a tactic, a strategy that can help us overcome the floods that can overwhelm us. God will change the flood and raise up a standard, a flag that you can see to help you when the floods come. Tactics and strategies are important concepts in the war that can take place when our thoughts are large and in charge. Regain your ground. Move the comma and the flood changes from something that is happening to you, to something that is happening through you. Go into the enemy’s camp and take back your rhythm, take back your joy.
Matthew 11: 28-30 MSG
"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”