Some of us are really bad at seeing the signals that indicate things are not going very well. Because of this it is really common to find that life takes on a new speed or intensity that we cannot really handle. Of course it is not often that life has really changed, more often it is us! Having healthy boundaries is really important, but so often our boundaries have been broken long before we realise it.
Lots of Christian people I pastor, have got into situations that they never intended, yet they are rational, faith filled people who would say that they normally acted with concern for others and a real desire to put God first. Almost amazed at their own predicaments we look backwards to see that the red lights were flashing STOP on their dashboards months ago.
My dear friend Dan once shared this simple phrase with me when I was struggling with doing too much. He said Will you have got to HALT, if you don't you will run off track. HALT he went on, was self-awareness of our vulnerability. Awareness of our weakness would help us to change the balance between input and output. It could be applied to both our spiritual and mental wellbeing.
HALT stands for Hungry, Alone, Low, Tired.
When we find ourselves in this place everything gets out of shape and it is very difficult to stay balanced. The period of temptation that Jesus experienced appears to encapsulate some if not all of these experiences (Luke 4 1-12). Being both fully human and fully God, Jesus models human vulnerability in these traits without giving in to their influence.
The combination of hunger, exhaustion, being run down and on your own, is a very powerful one. There is little doubt that in this state we can find life much more challenging and overwhelming than we would in different circumstances. The good news is that these are circumstances that can be changed.
How? Well we need to HALT first and take stock of our situation. In prayer God often reveals a fresh perspective and direction on out situation. Be proactive to meeting your physical needs, have a good meal, have some sleep. Talk to a friend about the demands you are experiencing and plan and assent out of the low depths. Try to do all this with your eyes on Jesus and not your exterior circumstances. When you look at them again they may still seem exceptionally hard and painful but you can be sure that you will be in a much better place to deal with them.
Will Van Der Hart, 10/07/2008