I learned about HALT-B in some class. You can easily tick it off on your fingers:

  • Hungry
  • Angry
  • Lonely
  • Tired
  • or Bored


HALT-B stands for things that can lead us to make poor choices. Poor choices can lead to sin and distance and shame and regret. While none of us are at our best when we are hungry-angry-lonely-tired-or-bored, some will be easier to roll with than others.

The granddaddy of them all

When I’m lonely, yeah I’m lonely but I’m not as likely to do something that I will later regret and potentially have to confess. When I’m hungry I can get a bit testy; but the granddaddy of them all is when I’ve had a long day and all I want to do is go to bed. I am not at my most lovely late at night. To say I’m not a night person would be, um, a colossal understatement.

For me, it’s when I’m tired that I’m most likely to say something that I know — usually immediately– I shouldn’t have said. And sadly it happened yet again last week while I was on a business trip. It had been a long day (note to self, pay attention!) and I had returned from a hot-pot banquet with about an hour before bed. A friend at the banquet later emailed me that I looked tired near the end, but she didn’t think anyone but her had noticed. That was the least of my concerns during the meal! As the guest I kept getting served lots of organ meat. My primary concern around the communal hot-pot wasn’t whether they thought I was tired, but whether or not the hosts were noticing how much pig’s stomach I was trying to hide in my dipping sauce!

So, yes, I was tired.

When I got back to the hotel another co-worker called because she had had a rough day and needed to process it a bit. I like this co-worker and am glad to walk through the up’s and down’s of growth and change. She was sick, not at her best, and at those times can get a bit extreme. Her health will NEVER recover. She’s a burden to everyone she’s ever met. Darth Vader had more friends than she does.

When she gets like this I can usually use mild sarcasm to reflect back to her the absurdity of her statements. Note the use of the word ‘mild.’ Tiredness can take mild and—if I’m not careful, bypass moderate and land on caustic—sarcasm before Princess Leia’s hair comes into it! That evening I was cruising towards caustic when she rightly said, “Wow, you’re a bit sarcastic tonight.”

She was more than a bit generous and gentle! Thankfully, the Helper confirmed with a knife to my heart her admonition and I was able to dial it back to mild. But I know I don’t do well with tired. Late at night I’m good in a crisis, not in a deep conversation and if I’m not on guard what starts off as merely a foolish choice of words can end in blatant, distance causing sin. Now, confession can be made and distance closed. However, how much lighter and freer to be able to go to bed or face the next morning without regret.

How about you? Which are your greatest stumbling blocks?

Categories: Faith, Personality



Leave A Comment

  1. Holly Voget November 6, 2011 at 9:12 am - Reply

    Well, I’m not to fond of organ meat myself…I can choke it down, but it’s not my favorite! I did see a bit of organ meat in your sauce, but you handled it very gracefully! The combination of tired, hungry and lonely is not a good one for me. I definitely need to be on my guard then. Thanks for sharing, friend ;-)

    • Amy November 6, 2011 at 11:07 am - Reply

      Fun to share the evening with you! Amy

  2. Cynthia November 7, 2011 at 12:58 am - Reply

    My stumbling block is Hunger. I have hypoglycemia and when my blood sugar gets low, I become someone that I don’t even really recognize never mind like. My patience goes out the window and when someone is mildly irritating, my inner thoughts toward them are less than favorable.
    While I am diligent with my eating habits (eat every 3 hours or so), there are times when hunger overwhelms me and I become what I consider to be a “truly horrible/unbearable person.” It is in those moments that I am reminded of what I am without Christ in my life.

  3. Amy November 7, 2011 at 7:10 am - Reply

    Amen sister! The potential damage I can do with my words is, to put it mildly, horrifying! May it be used far more for blessing. Ah, there’s the tension — and I’m back to Romans 7.

  4. Diane March 31, 2015 at 6:59 am - Reply

    I did like that you put “tried” rather than “tired” in the list at the top. But that’s me – when I feel “Tried” that I’m most horrid to all. My husband and I had “words” the other night because my son has been making some “interesting” and unwise choices and I had been thinking about them whilst in the bath trying to unwind. My husband had been watching TV and thinking of things, not my son I might add, and also husband was tired. I flounced downstairs and launched into what I was going to do/say to said son. My husband reacted badly as he was planning a 20 mile walk over the Easter weekend in his head. So yes both of us were tired and tried so reacted badly. Words fell out our mouths which had to be scrapped back up the following day.

    Fed and nourished by the peace of God is what I need so so so often

    Great article :) X

    • Avatar photo
      Amy March 31, 2015 at 7:43 am - Reply

      Ha :)!!! I also don’t do all that well with spelling :). What’s funny is this article has been used by others in other locations and no one said anything! … I was once given a piece of advice by my boss about timing of a message. I don’ t know about you … but that can be a hard one for me. If I’m ready to talk, I want to talk. OR if I don’t want to, I don’t like feeling forced to talk. Timing is another good word! (this is a note to self, not to you!)

      • Diane March 31, 2015 at 7:57 am - Reply

        Think that’s a note to me as well. I’m just like you and if its in my head then I need to say it. And yes the same if I don’t want to talk about it wild horses won’t drag it out of me.
        Yes Timing – will note that too :) X

  5. Mark Allman April 1, 2015 at 3:31 pm - Reply

    It helps to recognize how closely tied our emotional and spiritual are to our physical body. It goes both ways. Just like Cynthia and Diane say there are dangers if we let one side deteriorate it will effect the other in huge ways. A warning to us all.

    My wife has labeled this “fig treeing” in light of what Jesus did to the fig tree when he was hungry and the fig tree did not supply what he wanted!

  6. Kathy G. May 31, 2017 at 7:45 am - Reply

    I am familiar with the acronym HALT, but the addition of the ‘B’ at the end was a new to me. Thanks.

    I think that hunger is my biggest issue. If my stomach starts rumbling I really can’t think about much else. And I need to fill it with quality food-too much sugar will have a boomerang effect, and down the line I’ll be even more cranky.

  7. Mike May 31, 2017 at 7:59 am - Reply

    For me, I think I would add an “S” to your acronym – HALTS-B, S standing for symptoms. When I’m dealing with multiple hidden symptoms that only I feel but aren’t obvious to people who see me, I tend to draw in and focus too much on what’s going on in my body rather than looking outward to see what’s happening with other people. According to other people, I get a really serious, almost worried look on my face (i.e. not smiling). And yeah, I have to admit that I’m not very “happy” during those times. Frequently, the S leads to the T, and then it’s just time to lie down.

    I’m slowly coming to the place where I stop complaining about the things that I can no longer do (or no longer do to the same degree of intensity) and start picking and choosing the things that I decide to spend my time on, because there are still many more things that I CAN do that I have time or energy available to do them!

  8. Amy Large June 1, 2017 at 6:40 am - Reply

    TIRED, girl. I’m with you on that one. Late night calls/emails/texts/letters are better left until morning for me, if they require more than a few word response. :)

  9. Suellen Roley June 3, 2017 at 1:26 pm - Reply

    Hangry is my worst (hungry and angry) with tired close behind. I’m a diabetic (it’s somewhat controlled) so I really need to eat something OFTEN. Combine not eating with being angry and I might just might turn into the Incredible Hulk. Tired is when I will probably blow up at minor things, and even though I am a night person I will leave things alone until the morning.

  10. Mark Allman June 5, 2017 at 11:38 am - Reply

    I reread this and sometimes I am hungry, angry, lonely, tired, bored and tried all at the same time!! Sometimes being one with pull me into another such as being lonely I can get angry about that or when tired it is easy to get angry at little stuff. I do think what Diane had said about tried fits. When you’ve been tried it is easy to push back and sometimes out of proportion.

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