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Seriously, there are filters all around us but we rarely think about them until they malfunction. Coffee makers need a filter. Vacuums now have filters. Furnaces require filters, as do air conditioners and water purifiers. A clogged filter will shut down your automobile right in the middle of the street. Last week a friend found out her car was gasping for air because of a dirty air filter. Filtering face masks let air through but keep out chemicals, pollutants, even germs.
But the one place we really NEED a filter and rarely make use of one is on our souls. The human soul is made of of the mind, will, and emotions. Together with your spirit and body, we use the soul to express ourselves.
Proverbs chapter 4 says we are to guard our hearts, for from the heart (soul) spring the issues of life. Do you have “issues” you’d rather not have? Maybe you’ve got a filter problem.
You might call your filters a paradigm, a worldview, or just the way you perceive life on this big blue marble. Filters are a compilation of experience and information, and they affect our present circumstances and our future. Bad information, or experiences, leave us with fouled filters.
Let’s say as a child you were frequently condemned as “stupid” and and that negative input was reinforced by say, difficulty in school. Now, as an adult, barring some experience plus information that changed your paradigm, you probably have a “stupid” filter. You might be the next Einstein, but you refuse to crack open a textbook because your “stupid” filter blocks all possibilities that you might be smart enough to understand it. Conversely, any information that verifies your “stupid” belief will pass right through your “stupid” filter, into your life, and affect your future behavior and choices.
The soul’s motto could be put like this: “I think, I want, I feel.” You need a filter on your thinker, which comes from receiving accurate information. In today’s world, we have to dig for accurate information. Don’t just mentally download everything that comes along as truth! Some truth is obvious. Other truth is hidden under piles of misinformation and human opinion.
Your willpower filter can be difficult to change if you don’t change the thinking filter first. Why? Because what you think about has a direct effect on what you want. If you think about something long enough, you’re probably going to end up wanting and pursuing that thing. Don’t believe me? Start thinking about donuts. Keep thinking about them. Think about how they smell, how they feel in your fingers, the taste of them melting in your mouth. Close your eyes and imagine the best donut you ever ate… It was probably a Krispy Kreme, huh? OK, so now you probably want a donut. At the very least, your mouth is probably watering! (Your body follows your thoughts, too!) Sometimes I’m glad I live many miles and several hours from the nearest Krispy Kreme or Dunkin’ Donuts!
The “feelings” filter is also directly affected by the thinking filter. It irritates me when people say, “I just can’t change how I feel.” That’s a lie. They change how they feel all the time! What they MEAN to say is, “I don’t WANT to change how I feel.” But in most cases, it would sound incredibly rude and selfish to say such a thing, so we say, “I can’t” instead. Here’s a classic: Watch soap operas about lying, cheating, fickle husbands all day. Think about how wretched and horrid they are. Play it over in your mind how you would react in your favorite character’s shoes. Keep this up until your poor, unsuspecting spouse wanders through the door after work, five minutes late and without the milk you asked him to pick up at the store. Guess where your feelings are? Not where they are supposed to be! They followed your thoughts!
Right now I’m struggling with other people’s filters. It seems someone is always wanting to stick their filter on my life. And then they wonder why it doesn’t fit, and I wonder why I have weird “issues” (see above note on Prov. 4).
Instead of running around testing out other people’s filters, I need to go directly to my Manufacturer – God – when I start to feel sluggish and clogged up, or confused and distressed, or angry and discouraged. And when I get those thinking, wanting, and feeling filters switched out for new ones that aren’t tainted by offense, fear, or self-pity, it’s like a breath of fresh air. A new way of thinking, whether on the job, with my family, or personally, will give me a new lease on life and improve my performance in every area!
Here’s to fresh filters today!