I had some tea at my friend’s house the other day. I like tea but I had no idea how real tea really worked. I mostly just figured tea was tea. I never wondered about it, actually.
When my friend asked if I would like tea, she listed all the typical options. But then asked if I wanted real Chinese tea. She had been a missionary in Taiwan for over three years so she knew quite a bit more about how real tea worked. I was intrigued so that is what I chose.
First she tossed a few of these little things in a special teacup with a filter. I like strong tea so it didn’t really look like enough but she assured me it was. Then we added some hot water. We dumped out the water after a couple of minutes and then added more boiling water. This was all new to me! But it was a necessary part of the process.
We were waiting for the tealeaves to open. It takes several minutes.
It turns out she had dumped in a few too many because as the tealeaves kept relaxing from their dried state they nearly filled the filter. But the tea was delicious. I kept adding more water to the leaves and they continued to provide me with tea.
I am surprised how dried and compact tealeaves are. They look so small and unassuming but then open up to be five times their size. It takes time for them to move from the dried state to being able to steep and provide flavor but once they are ready, they can provide multiple pots of tea. I know there is much more to learn about tea but I am glad to have added to my knowledge. I am sure my friend thought I was crazy because it was so interesting to me. I am glad she took the time to teach me some of what she knew about tea.
Dried tealeaves don’t look like much. The process of getting tea from them seems a bit like some events in life. Sometimes what you have to work with doesn’t seem like much but God transforms that “little bit” to be sufficient or even abundant!
Do you recall a time in your life where God’s provision was more than you imagined?
Air filters capture the junk we might end up breathing in.
What about other types of filters? You can filter what you might say by taking out the junk you might want to instinctively say — similar to an air filter. Or if you are talking about pictures and altering the way something looks you can use a variety of filters on Instagram to convey a mood. You can simplify or distort with little effort. What about the filters we use when we watch an interaction (and maybe read more into it than is there) or when we are listening to someone speak and we hear words of condemnation when they really weren’t intended in such a manner.
Have you noticed when you have a certain sensitivity that it makes its appearance in many situations? Maybe that is your filter? Sometimes filters add and sometimes they take away. I think we all have a history of interactions and many of them do come up from the depths at the least expected times.
* Need to be changed or cleaned regularly
* Protect the air we breathe
* Can slant how we hear or view things
* Alter reality in subtle and not-so-subtle ways
If we would use a filter before we speak what could it do for us? What could it do for others?
Filters help a very verbal person like me have less regret for what I say.
What about using a filter when we LISTEN?
Do we hear what exactly is said? Do we add or subtract based on our history? Do we filter out any positives because we are determined to hear the negatives?
Filters can help my relationships not be exasperated but they can also skew the truth. There is always a level of filtering we do when we hear and when we speak.
As you go about your business today, think about how your perspective and experiences might filter the way you see and hear things. If you are the type of person who finds yourself with many verbal regrets consider pausing before you speak and put a filter in place. Not everything we think needs to be spoken!