Hamster Wheel Mentality – or Reality?

Let me tell you a story about a hamster named Freddie.

Every day Freddie wakes up, shakes the sawdust out of his fur, and scampers over to his favorite pastime: the hamster wheel. He hops on with all four feet and starts running for all he’s worth.

He’s not really sure why he runs, but it seems like the thing to do. After all, every other hamster he’s ever met — 7 in the pet store where he was born, and 2 friends since then — have spent their time running on a wheel. He figures it’s just what hamsters are supposed to do.

So Freddie runs, and runs, and runs. Occasionally he gets off the wheel to sip some water, nibble on a few seeds, and maybe snooze for a few minutes. But for the most part, he runs. All he really knows is his wheel, and his sawdust lined cage.

He never really notices that someone that someone feeds him, and keeps his cage clean, and fixes his wheel when it breaks. He just watches the wheel as it blurs around him, and makes sure his feet keep moving.

But someone does take care of little Freddie. Someone sits outside Freddie’s cage, watching over him day and night. And occasionally his hand reaches inside the cage, gently lifts Freddie off his hamster wheel, and carries him outside his glass-caged world.

And then Freddie realizes just how big the world really is!

Hamster Wheel Mentality – or Reality?

You might chuckle at the story, but I think we’re a lot like Freddie.

It is far too easy to focus on this transient life as though we were all hamsters on a wheel, just trying to stay ahead of our own tails — and utterly miss the greater picture of what goes on outside the cage.

We don’t stop and think about whoever takes care of us and meets our daily needs — not the big huge needs, but the little everyday needs like fresh air or solid ground under our feet. We don’t notice anything but the inside of our cage.

But reality is not the hamster wheel. It’s not anything inside the cage, for that matter.
Reality is what’s outside the cage, where our Creator exists. tweet this

Reality is not in the physical or the ephemeral. It is not merely what we can feel, or what happens to our bodies. It is not so easily observed until we stop our busyness and truly see — and discover unseen spiritual battles fought around us every day, and the eternal truth of a God who is, and the glorious assurance of eternity on our horizon.

But without suffering to make us pause, we can be oblivious to those realities.

Sometimes we need that sprained ankle, or broken wheel, to help us pause and recalibrate our focus. Sometimes we need grief or loneliness or extended illness to make us get off the hamster wheel and focus on true Reality.

“We look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.
For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
2 Corinthians 4:18

What are some of those unseen, eternal realities?

  • a God who never slumbers or sleeps
  • a God who cares lovingly for both the righteous and the wicked
  • a God who is sovereign and omnipotent and wise and good
  • a God who desires our worship and obedience
  • a God who is pleased with our devotion to Him
  • a God who justly judges us when we reject Him
  • a God who transforms evil to accomplish good things

What else would you add?


photo credit: Igor “Taz”


2 thoughts on “Hamster Wheel Mentality – or Reality?

  1. I wouldn’t add anything, I would just expand on the fact of God’s sovereignty, and tie it in with His using evil to accomplish good. When I look back at some of the evil influences I’ve had in my life, I see how God has used them to teach me how NOT to be. He has shown me that I need to fight and pray daily to have victory over sinful patterns that I have too often seen up close and personal.

    1. I was just talking to a friend about that. Yes, we should avoid evil. But we shouldn’t fret when inadvertently exposed to it, since God can use anything as an example to teach us – evil, simple foolishness, mistakes, whatever. Good point!

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