To start the day people typically get up, take a shower, brush their teeth, eat some breakfast, and drink their coffee. The point of doing this every day is because it wakes you up and gets your energy pumping for the days tasks, right? The shower and teeth brushing give you confidence while talking to others and the breakfast and coffee keep you from “hangry” snapping on someone. So in a sense these things keep you socially appropriate and prevent you from getting fired or losing friends. This is an overly simplified way of stating this but it is simply true.
There is a coping acronym in the therapy world that referrers to this phenomena called “H.A.L.T.” It stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, and Tired. If you allow yourself to experience too much of any of these things, the door to struggle and relapse (substance related and emotionally related) are left wide open. Too much hunger, anger, loneliness, and weariness are bad for human functioning.
EXO has been going out periodically just to meet new faces on the street, this is what I refer to as “street ministry”. We walk and pray for God to guide us to people and for people to be led to us. We trust the Holy Spirit to build these friendships. So we get up, clean up, dress up, and eat before going. This is done so that the act of socializing and ministering can have all our attention and energy.
However, the people we meet do not have the luxury of doing the same. The last time we went we came across a woman who needed shoes and a bathroom so badly that she could barely get up or talk. There was an effort to get her to a bathroom but all the places we recommended she refused because she had been banned from them or they did actually offer public bathroom services. There was enough energy in her to get her name but other than that she was focused on survival and less concerned with things like small talk, eye contact, and getting up off the concrete. This woman was Too Tired. This reminded us of how important it is to have good shoes and bathroom access, which seem like natural things that everyone should have, but unfortunately do not.
One of our street friends use to experience immense feelings of Too Much Loneliness and because of this started fleeing people rather than pursuing them. Why face rejection when it is easier to reject people yourself. However, she is now able to face people for the sake of making friends and obtaining her very important medication. Friendship made this possible. In her own words, “you guys make me feel like I can do things.”
We will continue to do “street ministry” even if we are shocked by harsh reality every time . We will pray for God to use us as tools to help prevent Too Much Loneliness through friendship. We will ask that He give us the strength to prevent Too Much Anger through gentle words of truth. And hopefully through the support of donors prevent Too Much Hunger and Tiredness.
Every need is important and not every need can be met with some spare change.
So please pray for less hunger, less anger, less loneliness, and less tiredness for our friends on the street and believe me when I say there will be an increase of hope.