A future-filter is the lens through which you think about, imagine, and ‘see’ your future.
So what is your future-filter made of? Is it a random collection of disappointments, pie-in-the-sky dreams, or pessimism? Is it positive, or negative? Is it inspired or discouraged? Does it project your fears onto your personal dashboard and anticipate past failures to repeat themselves? Or does it envision a new path filled with good things, led by a good and faithful God?
Your future-filter both illuminates things and conceals others. It determines your focus, and to some degree at least, becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Good future-filters conceal what we need to ignore and focus us on what we need to see. Bad future-filters conceal what we need to see and focus us on what we should ignore.Brad Huebert
As my friends and family know, my 2022 has made 2020 look like a trip to the beach: We lost our family dog, Hero; we closed Manifest, the church we planted; I’ve been struggling through a season of burnout; we downsized our home; and just last week, my dad died. So yeah. A tough year. Maybe you can relate on some level.
When I asked God about my future a month or two ago, He didn’t give much in the way of specifics, but He did give me a future-filter: “Blue ocean.” In entrepreneurial terms, blue ocean refers to a vast opportunity waiting for someone to seize it. It’s a phrase pregnant with promise and invites me to try something new.
Contrast this with how I might have filtered my own future, left to my own designs: Stormy sea. I might have been tempted to shrink back and play it safe, retreating as far inland as possible. But the blue ocean future-filter plays right into a vivid God-dream I recorded during the Pandemic, in which I was swimming through a very blue ocean as effortlessly and free as a dolphin at play. Um, yes, please. I’ll take it!
So… are you just existing, slogging through the muck of your life, eyes on your feet, unsure of what to do next? May I suggest that…
What we’re doing always flows from how we’re seeing.Brad Huebert
This is not about dreaming of what we want and then fixating on it. It’s not about name-it-and-claim-it. It’s about bringing our holy imaginations into resonance with God’s heart, mind, and imagination. It’s about co-labouring with Him in our lives on the dreams He has for us—which are far more meaningful than the ones we come up with for ourselves. Psalm 23 is a future-filter. So is the book of Revelation.
So here’s what I recommend: Set aside some time today and ask God, “How would you like me to see my future? What ‘future’ filter’ would you like me to run with this season? Then write down what comes to mind.
His reply may come right away, or it might arrive in the next week. It could be a metaphor like mine, or a Bible-verse, you name it. Once you have your future-filter (or think you have it), run it by some people who know and love you. Ask them to pray about it too. And once you settle on what God has for you, deploy that future-filter in your planning, your prayers, your thinking, your conversations.
And me? I’m already working with Jesus on my big, beautiful, blue ocean.