BY REV. TOM EARLY - ST. ALN'S EPISCOPAL. CHURCH
This month, many Christian traditions are observing Lent. People observe this season of the Church year in many ways but the most common practice is to give up something. In giving up something we enter into solidarity with Christ's 40 days of temptation in the wilderness.
Lent can be a time when we take stock of what tempts us; what keeps us from love of God and neighbor. In giving up something, we expose ourselves to temptation. We give up that beer at the end of a long day. We give up the chocolate we eat when our coworker annoys us. We give up that extra hour of TV. Perhaps we wake up early for extra prayer time.
Whatever you choose to practice know that the devil is prowling, ready to pounce on your new practice. How best can you safeguard your fresh attempt at communion with divine? The practitioners of 12 Step theology know a thing or two about temptation. For some, fighting temptation means life and death. They have devised an acronym: HALT.
Halt reminds us to pause, or halt, and examine if we are feeling hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. We are at our most vulnerable when we find ourselves in any of these states.
Remember if you are trying a new practice or giving something else that you are putting stress on your basic needs. Any time we are attempting to make a new normal for ourselves, other parts of our lives will be affected. Pay attention to those needs. If you are feeling any of the HALT conditions, ask God for help. Know that Jesus too was tempted and knows only too well how hard it is to be in you right now.
Hopefully HALT can help you maintain your Lenten discipline and perhaps even help you carry it on into to Easter and beyond. I pray that it does.