Recently my air conditioner broke down and I was truly worried that I would have to replace the whole system. That would have been a really huge bill. However, to my relief once the system was defrosted, I received the advice that I only needed to ensure that I changed the filter, not by the recommended 90 days but sooner and also change the kind of filter that I used. Just thinking about that got me to thinking about how important it is to filter what I allow into my life, and how doing so effects my relationships. I’m truly grateful for this valuable life lesson…
Relationship is really important to all of us. I’m really big on family and friends; especially being present and loyal. We don’t have much of a choice in who our family is, but friends are called the family you choose. Nonetheless, I can choose the level of interaction I have with both. For many years my relationship with my friends and family took priority over my relationship with God. It wasn’t until I had a romantic relationship crash and burn that I realized that my priorities were out of order.
Also, there are many other ways in which our lives are influenced. Whether I choose to recognize it or not, I am influenced by who and what I spend most of my time looking at, interacting with and listening to. As my pastor put it this Sunday, the battle over what goes on in my life begins in my mind. So I must be mindful of the music I listen to, blogs I read, TV/movies I watch, who I follow on Facebook and Instagram in addition to who I spend my time with. All of these influences factor into the level of joy and/or drama that is present in my day-to-day.
Anyway, I was told by two HVAC technicians that I needed to stop using the kind of filter that I used. The pleats were too tight. While the high allergen blocking one was trapping stuff it was also causing my system to work overtime to circulate the air. So it wasn’t a matter of keeping certain things out, but letting enough pass through. So I not only needed to change my filter, but use the right one. One that let some harmful stuff go. Of the information that I receive on a daily basis from all of the potential influences, what do I keep? What’s worth keeping? And how do I decide?
It is important to be mindful of what I dwell on because bad, negative and harmful thoughts WILL cross my mind. However, it is possible to control whether they stay there. Before the information age this would not have been so overwhelming a task, but yet and still we were warned by the Holy Spirit to make sure we all use the right filter –
I’ve heard it said a few times that your vertical relationship must be in order before your horizontal ones will be. This has proven to be so true in my life. In the past, when I looked at my friends’ lives without considering God’s thoughts, it was easy to compromise in order to get what I thought I wanted into my life. Often my efforts fell flat and hurt me. It wasn’t until I blocked everything out for a bit and just listened to God alone that stuff started falling into place. I filter my decisions, thoughts and ideas through him first now. It’s become a habit. Also, the benefit is the consistency and stability that I desire for all of my relationships. I realize now that I can trust God for stability and balance in my life and extend the grace and mercy that I’m so grateful he’s shown me (because I need it daily) to others.
Recently I was told that I’ve had a glow about me lately and the person wondered if I had a new man in my life. I smiled and said, “No.” Who I have in my life now is so much more than a man. In fact, making my relationship with God a priority has made my relationships with the men, women, and children in my life so much better.
Just this week I was approached by a cult touting the benefits of knowing God the Mother and it occurred to me that their message would have appealed to the old me. I used to be bitter about my relationship with God and where I stood with him as a woman. I’m grateful for that little glimpse he allowed me to see of just how far we’ve come together.
I said all this to say…If you’re dissatisfied with what’s going on in your life, you can change it by changing your filter and using the right one. Talk things over with God, seek advice from godly friends, and find a Christ-centered, Bible-based church. Decide to even trade in what you consider to be good for what is best.