rebelling against low expectations

What Lord of the Rings Taught Me About Obsession


“The One Ring to rule them all …”

If you’ve ever read (or seen) Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien this probably sounds pretty familiar.

It happens to be the writing on the Ring of Power.

Recently my mom and I were watching The Fellowship of the Ring, and every time I watch this movie, Bilbo’s reaction and mannerisms when he had to leave the Ring, and when he saw the Ring after being apart from it for so long, somewhat haunted me, along with Gollum’s obsessive actions.

The gleam in their eyes was not of love or care; it was a selfish drive to appease their flesh. They wanted this Ring more than anything else.

“One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them. One Ring to bring them all and in darkness bind them.”

The Ring obviously had a powerful effect on the owners’ lives. They couldn’t seem to be without the Ring for very long for fear of leaving behind a peace that was so dear to them.

This One Ring was more powerful than any others; it had control over them and nothing trumped it.

This One Ring had power to tie you to the dark side. It could bring the most evil about ever imagined if you wanted it to.

“One Ring to rule them all …”

As I watched this, I started wondering if we have “Rings” in our lives – obsessions that take our focus off of God and reflect the world.

For a lot of us, this could be electronics. It could be an addiction or something you think about constantly.

Think about this for a minute.

If you have a “Ring” in your life that has so much power over you, you could be Gollum or Bilbo. It freaked me out to look in their eyes when their focus and thoughts were on that Ring.

I know I never want to be seen that way and I am sure you don’t either, so I challenge you to start working towards making your One Ring into Jesus.

Make Him the center.

Obviously we will never be perfect, but this is something we need to work at. And I totally get liking your electronics or enjoying shopping or listening to music. It’s normal for us to like doing this stuff. And it isn’t inherently bad. It just depends on the priority level it has.

It was extremely noticeable when someone was under the power of the Ring. My question is, what kind of change would happen if you were so in love and drawn to Jesus that everyone could notice it?

Would this start a revolution if we did this?

Are you willing to make Jesus your Only One?

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Photo courtesy of Renee Hawk and Flickr Creative Commons.


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About the author

Laini Russell

is a 15-year-old homeschooled girl who goes to a small
Pentecostal church in Michigan. Being the outgoing person she is,
meeting new people is a thorough joy and being around young children
is something she thrives on. She also enjoys reading, crocheting,
interneting (that’s a thing), and writing.


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  • *wince* Wow…this was convicting! I have to admit, I can see a few areas were I might need to change… 🙂 Thanks for the great reminder, Laini!

  • Wow! Powerful article! I’ve though the same stuff every time I associate
    with Tolkien’s works, there are many deep and powerful truths he hid
    within Middle Earth!

    • And it’s especially cool how you can apply different things from his stories to entirely different things. Like the ring could be any number of things: sin, power, greed etc.

      • Yes, and even going into like the First Age and the dominion of Morgoth, you can see many parallels to the Bible…even though Tolkien said he wasn’t writing an allegory (in fact, he hated allegories). For Tolkien, the enchantment of the Christian gospel is deeper than
        allegory (which he thought crass) or merely having a character who is
        the Jesus figure. Tolkien believed that God made humanity for the Great
        Joy purchased by and provided in the Good News of Jesus, and that the
        joy we experience from good fantasy tales streams its power from the
        real world, the Primary Reality, created by God and culminating in the
        life, death, and resurrection of his Son. In this way, Tolkien thought
        that all good stories meet with God’s gospel-shaped imprint on his

  • Wow, a LOTR based article! Awesome! This is definitely something that I can relate to. I was just talking with my friend about how I spend too much time on my iPod too. Thanks for writing!

  • THANK YOU for tying LotR in with a biblical aspect, Laini!! That totally made my day 🙂 I think that J. R. R. Tolkien’s (and C. S. Lewis’ too!) faith were made clearly evident through their books, and we could probably relate many things from the LotR books to the Bible!

  • That was beautiful. If you don’t mind my taking it further I should think that the trip to Mordor is us finding our way to Jesus and giving him our rings to be destroyed. It might be a hard trip, but it is always so worth it.

    Thank you for this post. It’s definitely going to be a favorite of mine. 🙂

  • Love this article, Laini! I’m a big LOTR and the Hobbit fan and I love the way you brought this important truth out of this incredible story.
    Thanks so much for writing! 😊

  • Good job Laini! So much of Tolkien reflects the real world, and he didn’t like allegory. Go figure! I really agree with your main point, and I think it’s really good to think about our idols (Our One Rings). Your tie in to technology was convicting for me because that’s an area where I spend a lot of time but haven’t really spent time to think about weather it’s an idol. Thanks again!

    Your brother in Christ,

  • Wow Laini….your posts are just amazing! You never fail to disappoint. Thank you for this daily reminder and please keep writing!!!


  • Awesome article, Laini! I got through it, went, “That was a great article,” and then saw your face at the bottom! Fantastic job; Tolkien’s writing is rich with so many allegories like this, and I love to see them written about.

  • Yeah…it’s so easy to let other stuff become your center instead of Jesus…I should definitely work on that more!

  • I like how you use the comparison between J.R.R Tolkien’s books and our life. I think if we sought out God the way Bilbo and Golem sought out the ring everyone could see that we are Christians. Thank you for sharing this.

By Laini Russell
rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →