I once went two years with a broken basket in the corner of the bedroom with things I was going to fix or mend sitting in it. I did not particularly want it as part of the interior design look of the room but put up with it. In that time I never even once added to it or pulled anything out to fix but had to move it numerous times when it was in the way. Doesn’t seem too big a deal really but along with other tolerations (as there is never just one alone in our life!) this seemingly little thing did make an impact. Once it was no longer left there I discovered how much I loved not having it lingering on in the peripheral of my life and the bedroom seemed more of an oasis.
You may not relate necessarily to my joy of no longer having a broken basket of things to mend/fix in the bedroom but have you ever tidied up your junk drawer (or cupboard) – you know that place we all have where everything without a home goes to? I am sure you have and enjoyed the result no matter how short lived it is! Dealing with tolerations is a bit like tidying up the junk drawers of our life – the result is you feel good, waste less time, and feel less cluttered in your mind – and this is regardless of whether the tolerance is a physical thing or not.
Tolerations are energy drains as they interfere with us managing life well. The uncomfortable truth we each have to face is that by allowing tolerations to go unchecked in our life we let them take a portion of our mental capacity, creative ability, peace and productivity in life. Sometimes they are just low-level annoyances we put up with like the junk drawer but they can also be more serious like putting up with an employment situation that is disliked or a lifestyle (e.g. lack of exercise) that is tolerated. Everything in our life either gives life or takes from it whether big or small in nature.
It is time for us to stop simply downplaying these energy drains or living on unaware of the consequences they are creating in our life.
It would be easy to jump to the conclusion tolerations are mostly to do with the way we organise our physical environment. And while that is a significant area of impact it would be a narrow view to take as to where tolerations are occurring within our life. Toleration happens in every area of life – our physical environment (e.g. home, city we live in, car, work environment, our body/health etc); our emotional/relational environment (e.g. home, work, family, friendships, church/clubs, our soul realm/patterns of thinking etc); our spiritual environment (e.g. our personal relationship with God, His Word and how we live out our faith including church life) etc. Every area of each of our unique lives hold potential areas we tolerate things in.
Benefits to eliminating tolerations
A couple of benefits that come from working at eliminating some of the tolerations in our life (in case you are not fully convinced yet) in a nutshell are:
- 1. You will regain energy and stamina for the things that matter – your priorities and values are managed better.
- 2. Your quality of life improves and sense of satisfaction – joy and peace.
- 3. You are more likely to achieve goals as feel more productive, less cluttered in your mind, more creative etc.
- 4. Without a doubt, you will experience less of the weighed down feelings of regret, guilt or wishful thinking.
Okay, so where to from here….it is one thing to know this but what do we do with this knowledge? I have included a link here for a downloadable worksheet for you What Am I Tolerating? The aim is for you to identify for yourself what are your current tolerations. Don’t be alarmed the list usually ends up long when people are honest and over the next week you will no doubt add things to it. That is normal, it is okay!
Once you have done that decide on three tolerations you will start on either changing or eliminating from your life…and yep get to work! It is important to mention here that not all tolerations are necessarily eliminated from our lives, sometimes we decide to continue to cope with an area of life or that it is just not possible right now to address that area. That is all part of the journey.
A great motivator to keep us going on this ongoing journey of eliminating tolerations is keeping in mind our answer to the question
What would life look like if this tolerance _______ (name it) was eliminated?
Imagining our sense of satisfaction, renewed creativity, increase in stamina, and productivity helps to keep us focused on the process that toleration elimination involves. It is not a competition or race to complete and takes time as we begin to actively eliminate tolerations from our life so be kind but firm on yourself on this journey. One last thing…please could you comment in the section below – what is one thing you tolerant but are now going to begin to work towards eliminating? I will go first if you like….
Praying for you