Eat the watermelon, spit out the seeds.
Cherry pick the good stuff.
Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.
Buy the trail mix, only eat the chocolate (or maybe that’s just Matthew).
Regardless of how it’s said, we human folk have an understanding of the word discernment – take what is good and FILTER out the bad. Some of us are more natural filterers than others, but learning how to filter is a big part of learning how to adult.
There are seasons of life where we deliver conflicting messages in the filter department. We’ve seen this a lot with students – almost of any age – when we tell them to be sponges. Soak up all that knowledge you little sponges! Go on, soak it in! Oh no, not that. Uh, you weren’t supposed to absorb that. And therein lies the challenge – sponges cannot tell what is good to soak in and what should be left untouched. Being a SPONGE is not a bad thing, but it does mean you either need to live in a utopia or you must be able to filter.
As we have become more adulty, we have grown in our ability to filter what we soak up. We’ve become sponges who filter. We have seen this wonderful life skill and spiritual imperative slip away during transitional times in life. Transition inherently involves learning new skills, new cultures, and new dynamics. To engage all of this new, we drop the filter and, like attempting to drink from a fire hose, take in as much as we can as quickly as we can. What started off as an eagerness to learn can be the open door for things we do not want in our lives. It’s the FUNNEL: the entry point of how influences and ideas enter our lives – the media, books, music, and the weight we assign the voices of others.
During transitional seasons we not only drop our filter, but we open wide our funnel. It all expedites new things getting in, but what if that voice should never have been allowed to pour into your life? What if that way of thinking should have been filtered out? There is nothing wrong with adopting an open posture. This does not change the need to filter.
As we prepare to enter so much new (and in so many ways are already in a season of transition), we increase our awareness of our filter, our sponge, and our funnel. We need to learn more, we will add more inputs into our life, and we will absorb more. Because of this we need to ensure we’re doing this with intentionality. It’s easier to revoke entrance at the gate than expel something once it has entered and so we strive to do this well.