Ever feel like you're stuck on a hamster wheel, making no progress? Eve Evans helps us change our perspective.
Hamster Wheel or Potter's Wheel?
By Eve Evans
"Why am I not getting anywhere?"
I sat frustrated and disappointed, feeling like I was on a hamster wheel in a business pursuit.
During the Great Recession (2008) I became a realtor. I invested a lot of time, money, and energy but got zero results. I just kept spinning around the wheel until I was forced to return to a corporate job. I worked outside my chosen field for the next nine years until I burned out. After a long period of prayer, I elected to leave my corporate job, get some much-needed rest, and determine what was next. Eventually, I chose to take another shot at real estate. This time I was older, wiser, and in a better market. I expected things to go dramatically different, and yet, it's been challenging. My re-emergence has yielded more results than the first round, but still not the explosive results I expected.
So, one morning, as I visualized myself back on this hamster wheel it suddenly tipped over on its side. I was now running horizontally, as if on a potter's wheel. I was reminded of Isaiah 64:8 "Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand."
In a less than respectful tone, I responded to the Holy Spirit, "Yeah, yeah, God. I get it. You're refining my character."
Yet, he persisted in making his point. It seemed he was saying, "It's more than that. Think about the entire process."
I sat there a moment, recalling my limited pottery experience from elementary school. My teacher would hand out small cubes of clay to her eager students. I remember how excited we all were to begin sculpting our ideas, but she would always remind us, "Wait! We must first knead the clay to get the air bubbles out." So, we would slam the clay down on the tables folding and pressing. I'm sure if you asked the clay, it would describe the experience as uncomfortable in the least - humbling even.
I'd rather skip the humbling process, the pressing and kneading. However, what I find happens in my lowest moments, when I am pressed down, is that I'm compelled to LOOK UP and recall that it is God who is working on me.
And that's just the very beginning of the pot. Before it can be molded into anything of use or beauty, it requires a lot of pressing down, so that it is in the right condition to be properly formed. In other words, God cannot start to properly refine or form us until we are in a humbled, receptive state.
The next phase of course is shaping - the potter's wheel. While the pot maintains a somewhat static position on the wheel, change is in fact happening. As the wheel turns horizontally, the pottery grows vertically. What will it become? A bowl, a vase, even a mug?
Once the final form is reached, the piece enters the fire at least twice to set the shape, then set the colorful glaze. Even though it experiences fire multiple times, each time is for a different purpose. In my situation, not only have I learned lessons in humility I've been completely blind to, but the steps of the refining process also caused me to rethink some of my long-term goals. I've realized God wants me to use additional gifts now and stop waiting.
Sometimes, we as humans, in our limited understanding, see the "same" trials as being stuck on a hamster wheel, but what if we shift our perspective? What if some of those experiences that feel like a hamster wheel are really each achieving the purpose of a potter's wheel? A different purpose - the setting of a slightly different lesson - each an integral part of the finished work of art? A process we can only see if we let the Holy Spirit shift our perspective.
Eve Evans is a Colorado native and business professional with extensive experience in benefits, technology, and real estate. The youngest of an entrepreneurial family, she's passionate about her faith, and the impact it makes on her work. She aspires to encourage other emerging entrepreneurs through their journey because she has experienced firsthand how God uses the leap of faith required to start any business to refine us further into the image of Christ. You can connect with Eve at: Eve@TheRealEveEvans.com.