A well-fed cat and two hungry dogs
Just watch our cat! She isn’t very tech-savvy, but for the better part of most days she nonetheless spends in her own little feline virtual reality: Cat Dreamland.
Generally her ears perk up at the “riiip” of cat can and, no matter how deep she may have dug into her dream world, she comes running to sit expectantly before her cat dish. Once well fed, it’s back to her bed (ours actually), a few surface softening circles, and she’s down again, snuggled and sated, ready to dream again.
A full belly has the same effect on most mammals. Bears are masters at it. A bear will spend most of every late summer feeding ahead, then sleep a stunning 5 to 7 months in a spot no other bear will occupy once used in this way by another. Chipmunks and ground squirrels, hedgehogs and groundhogs, even hummingbirds and ladybugs hibernate for varying months at a time.
One thing they all have in common is a good feed beforehand, both filling them up for the deep sleep ahead and helping them doze off as the long, slow digestion takes over.
Humans are like that too. Though we don’t sleep for months, (except in fairytales,) food does tend to make us drowsy, less alert, ready to soften a circle and hunker down for a nap.
Scripture tells us to do the opposite: “be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints” (Eph. 6:18), “Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.” (1 Cor. 16:13), “…keep on the alert at all times…” (see Luke 21:34-36), “I know,” writes Paul, “that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you… be on the alert” (see Acts 20:29-31).
Fasting — denying the flesh what feeds it — fuels the Spirit to seek out better things. It’s a simple truth of parenting that when the cupboard is void of candy the apples on the table begin to look more appealing.
As the adage goes, Two “dogs” fight within us. Which will win and which will lose will depend largely on which you most often feed, and which you most often starve.