Some feelings can be lights in a dashboard alerting us of a need that needs satisfying. The way we deal with them could determine our behaviors and finally our outcomes. There’s an acronym that I learned, not mastered yet but working on it. H.A.L.T. stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely and Tired. Just like the word halt, when any of these are present you need to stop, assess and respond to the appropriate need to avoid these feelings from affecting your mood and your surroundings. These feelings can distort your reality, affect your perception and potentially drive you to actions that otherwise you would not have taken and that could be regrettable.
Issue: My mother says that my father was a very pleasant person unless he was hungry, I have excused myself saying that it’s an inherited trait. That’s an honest copout. If you’re hungry, instead of being grumpy…eat! Hunger can cause our mood to change. Our blood sugar gets low and the body is sending a signal to the brain that it needs something. Hunger is merely a red light going off on your dashboard requesting your attention that something needs to be done.
Physical hunger is not the only one that can affect us. Spiritual hunger is just as detrimental. When our spirit is hungry from the word of God, we lack wisdom and connection with the Holy Spirit to make the right decisions for our lives. In John 6:35 Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty”
Suggestion: Eat! I know it sounds simple, but sometimes we’re so caught into meetings or errands that we forget to eat before we know it we’re starving. It is good to always have something available, like a fruit, a trail mix packet or a nutritional bar. At least it will get you through until you can actually have a meal.
On the spiritual side, start feeding yourself with the Word of God. Sometimes you don’t know where to start with some worship music, its usually the quickest way to get your mindset connected to then dive into prayer and bible study. “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’(Luke 4:4)
Issue:This one is simple to relate how it can affect our mood. Something makes us angry and we do, say things we later regret. Anger is a powerful emotion that we need to learn to identify and channel appropriately. Remember when we are angry, the emotion is not affecting anyone else but us. Consider Job 18:4 “You who tear yourself to pieces in your anger, is the earth to be abandoned for your sake? Or must the rocks be moved from their place?” It doesn’t mean ignore your anger, but do consider the times that you are making mountain out of molehills. Are you really angry because of what happened or is there a deeper issue?
Everyone expresses their anger in a different way, but ignoring the irritant or not handling the situation is never the answer.
Suggestion: For some people it’s a timeout. Removing yourself from the situation can help you calm and think things rationally. For some people they need to talk things out. Having an accountability person in your life that can listen without interruptions, but that can give you some wise insight once you’ve vented can be a good source to work through these feelings. For others writing your feelings down allows you the opportunity to see things in perspective. Process your anger before acting on it. “Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil” Psalm 37:8
Issue:The feeling of loneliness can drive us to unwise decisions. For people with addictions it can be a trigger back to their vices. The problem is that when people think of addictions they only think of substance abuse and there are way many addictions out there untreated due to this misconception. Any behavior that affects your appropriate functioning and that is having harmful consequences is a potential addiction. The so called shopping therapy, reading books for hours on end trying to hide from the world, overeating, excessive use of the internet, television, pornography, video games, unhealthy relationships (and I’m not just saying couple relationships, even some friendships can be part of an addictive relationship); these are just some example of thing that we can engage due to loneliness that will end up.
Suggestion: Keep accountability, having someone in your life that knows that you are struggling with these issues can help you sort your feelings before you act on them. Having healthy relationships can help you feel less alone.God never intended for us to do life alone. Life, although very individual, its still a group effort. “You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone.”Exodus 18:18 Filling your life with the Word of God will fill the emptiness that you may be feeling. Last but not least is service. When you feel alone you are focusing on yourself, executing acts of service not only can give you a sense of purpose, but can expose you to many fulfilling experiences.
Issue:This is another feeling that I consider to be a red light in your dashboard. Especially in our current lifestyle where we believe to be supermen and superwomen without capes, we can be under the impression and the pressure of all these life demands that can be exhausting. The reality is that being tired affects the way we process information and can cause us to make mistakes and erroneous decisions. Out of exhaustion you can give in into that thing, talking to a person or attending a place that you know its not the best for you and that could have negative results in your life.
These emotions are born in us. If you look at babies, aren’t those the reasons why they cry? Think about it, hungry, angry, lonely and tired. Abraham Maslow developed a theory in psychology based or human hierarchy of needs. His long theory can be summarized by saying that unless you meet your basic needs you can’t achieve higher levels and execute appropriately other functions.
Suggestion: Rest! You need to be honest with yourself, assess your priorities. Yes there are dishes to clean and clothes to fold, but if you’re tired you are good to nobody including yourself. Naps are an option. Look at your load and delegate or find creative ways to make your life easier. Flush the superman/woman down the drain right now, its not doing anybody any good. Those around you will enjoy you better with paper plates than screaming because of the load of dishes. Finally enjoy the refreshing rest that only He can give, by spending some time with your Savior. “The LORD replied, My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”Exodus 33:14
First of all I want to apologize for not writing in the last few days, between Camp Nano and other distractions I have not been able to sit down long enough to concentrate. I’ve been thinking a lot about how sometimes we are affected by issues regardless if they have direct or indirect impact in our lives.
Life is never without challenges, disappointments and painful events, most of them out of our control. The way we react to those events and the way we view those events will determine our behavior and ultimately potential future outcomes.
When something unexpected affects negatively our lives its very common to feel anger, sadness, shock, resentment, disappointment, grief and many other negative feelings. Ephesians 4:26 reads “In your anger do not sin” : Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry” but I know there are wounds that are longer lasting, however once the sun comes back up, it may be time to start our baby steps back on the road of life.
We believe that we have no control over those feelings and that’s not totally true. Yes, those feelings are normal. We should not stuff them or deny them. We should talk about them and process them, the problem arises when we sulk and get stuck on them.
At some point the grieving process of an event runs its course and yes, the timing is different for everyone, but when the grief hinders you from functioning, you’ve gone too long.
That’s why I say that you can ultimately impact your future outcomes, for example…the loss of a relationship may be devastating, but it could open the door to self examination, discovery and the potential of a new, sometimes even better relationship. The loss of a loved one is devastating, but if you have faith that they are in a place of no pain and no sorrow, that will give you hope. The loss of employment or some other financial loss will not be easy to recover until you get back on your feet.
Feel what you need to feel, process what you need to process, but then it’s time to get up and move on. Trust that God will make everything right and that he’s in control. That there’s no evil that will not be avenged and no good deed unrewarded.
Faith will get you through
Every day I’m thankful that God is God and he doesn’t react like we do to situations. Every day we make decisions based on impressions, emotions, hormones (both men and women), pressures and they’re not always the best route. Imagine a God whose mercy depended on the weather outside, or how upset He was about the things we did? I think this would be a very empty world. I mean that literally.
We all have been in places were raw emotions have taken over, but as we grow in our spiritual walk we tend to be able to manage those better. It’s not an exact science and it doesn’t mean that we always react the best way to upsetting situations. This is definitely well described in Proverbs 14:29 ”Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly” Folly in case you don’t know means a fool; and don’t we make a fool out of ourselves when we lose our cool. But when we lose our cool or make a mistake the Grace of God can restore us through repentance. “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord” (Acts 3:19)
It still amazes me how God can love us through our sins, how he never loses his cool with us as we are too quick to lose ours sometimes for the smallest things. He doesn’t want us to stay there and wants to restore us to peace; therefore the quicker we come to repentance the faster we can continue our life of peace. Psalm 103:10 “he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.
So my invitation for today is to be” slow to speak and slow to become angry” (James 1:9) to prolong our peace on earth and enjoy our everyday relationship with God.
- Watch Your Mouth! (freshlyground.wordpress.com)