The Hamster Wheel

Routine is one thing…feeling like you are operating inside a hamster wheel is another.  Routines establish basic parameters in which life most easily functions. When you find a routine, you are able to establish a sort of life groove.  Finding a nice groove helps to minimize tough decisions and frees you from the pressures of not knowing what to expect next.

But what happens when that groove transforms itself into a rut?  Hamster wheels.  From the perspective of someone who desires to continuously grow and develop spiritually, hamster wheels are our worst enemies.  Hamster wheels, in my mind, are the definition of boredom, aimless activity, movement without progression, a futile exercise that at best increases the heart rate enough to continue existence, and it leads to depression.

If we are honest, we have all found ourselves in a hamster wheel.  Maybe that’s where you find yourself at this very moment.  Maybe you have come to the following conclusion more than once: “Isn’t this just life?” “Isn’t this just what we have to do?”  No.  Staying on the hamster wheel is easy.  It can feel safe, but spiritually it is detrimental to our development and progression.

Routines and grooves are certainly beneficial, but the question becomes, “How can I continue to grow along life’s routine pathways the have been worn down to dust and still avoid the rut of the hamster wheel?”

I have most often found myself spinning when I allow the tunnel vision of familiarity to supersede the perspective of spiritual reality.  [Talking to myself] When we notice we are just walking but going nowhere (spiritually), it becomes imperative that we find a bench along the path to sit down and reflect on an aspect of God’s greatness. What we will find is that His presence is all along the path.

I love how Eugene Peterson treats the Psalm of David in Psalm 23:3 in the Message Translation.  He says, “True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction.”  David prayed often about his “path”.  For example, in Psalm 25:4 (ESV) he said, “Make me to know YOUR ways, O Lord; teach me YOUR paths.”  David desired to know God’s path, and he knew the value of God’s presence leading him along the path. As we acknowledge and experience His presence along the path, what we will find is that even through the mundane moments of life, growth can still occur.

Lord, remind us to find the benches along our pathways today.  May we never substitute our relationship for a hamster wheel.  Help us to grow by resting, even in the busyness of life.