Before Over-Spirtualizing Your Problem, HALT!

As I said in my last post, I have a tendency to over-spiritualize my problems, meaning that when I'm having a hard day, I can usually find some "spiritual" reason for my hard day that I need to do something "spiritual" in order to get over the problem. 

A good friend in Florida taught me that when I'm having a hard day, before I over-spiritualize my problem, that I should HALT.  What is HALT?

Hungry

Angry

Lonely

Tired

Hear me-it's not okay to be a jerk just because I'm hungry, but before I jump to an overtly "spiritual" resolution to my tough day, like confession of sin, more focused prayer, Bible reading, or something else, I ask myself,

"Am I hungry, angry, lonely, or tired?"

It may sound childish, but It's CRAZY how many times that when I'm in a funk, it's simply because I'm hungry, angry, lonely, and/or tired.  It's not because God is convicting me of something that I've done wrong or need to do better.

Why does this give me hope? 

It means that sometimes I don't have to analyze my problems to death! Sometimes I just need to eat something to get in a better frame of mind. This makes me more productive in my day to day life, because I'm not sulking. I go take a guilt free, 30 minute power nap and then move on refreshed. AND remember that sleeping, just like eating, cleaning, washing dishes, exercising, hanging out with friends is all spiritual and can be turned into worship to God.

I'm often guilty of trying to earn God's love for me, which is the exact opposite of the good news that I believe in. While EVERY other religion asks us 'do something' so that God will love us, the good news of Jesus proclaims that God already loves us, so we do something in response to his already existing love for us. HALT helps me with this problem of thinking I have to earn God's love for me. The legalistic part of me sometimes causes me to view my problems as something related to me not doing enough for God, and if I did more for God, not that my problems would go away, but I at least wouldn't have as hard of a time dealing with the issues that arise in my day to day life if I would simply do more for him. The HALT theory slams the door on this 'pharisee-like' mindset. 

For example, one day this past week, I was anxious. I did a quick self diagnostic, and I asked myself 'am I hungry, angry, lonely, or tired?' It turned out that day was incredibly busy, and I realized that I forgot to eat breakfast, because I overslept my alarm. (I usually eat three scrambled eggs every day.) So I stopped what I was I was doing, and I went and ate a snack. Guess what? God, in fact, wasn't convicting me in that moment that I didn't read my Bible that morning. My human body, the way God designed it to happen, was telling me that it wasn't happy with me, and that I needed to eat something.

Am I saying it's bad to pray when you're having a bad day? Not at all. I believe that God wants us to pray daily. In fact, Paul encouraged the church in Ephesus to pray with without ceasing! Am I saying to not carry around Bible verses in your pocket, and pull them out to read when you're feeling anxious? Nope. I think that could be a great idea for you!  I am, however, trying to encourage myself and others to become more wholistic in our thinking, and I believe HALT can actually help us in that journey of becoming more whole followers of Christ. 

hoping for MORE of Jesus in our lives, 

Zach