There’s a tale out there which goes like this:
“A Native American Elder once described his own inner struggles in this manner: ‘Inside of me there are two dogs. One of the dogs is mean and evil. The other dog is good. The mean dog fights the good dog all the time.’ When asked which dog wins, he reflected for a moment and replied, ‘The one I feed the most.'”
I like to think of this struggle in terms of the True Self vs. the False Self. Richard Rohr uses that language in his book, Falling Upwards, which I hope to review here shortly.
Anyways, our True Self is who we are in Christ and who Christ is in us. It is our new nature/identity/reality.
Our False Self is the “old us” – our former identity and life before Christ. It’s technically “dead”, but it likes to resurrect itself.
Paul wrote about this old nature/new nature dynamic a LOT. His big thing was to put off the old and put on the new – to act in ways that align with the new reality, through the Spirit’s power. In a sense, feeding the right dog.
When it comes to deciding who gets fed in own life, I’ve found that if I allow my emotions to lead, I often end up feeding the wrong dog.
Don’t get me wrong – feelings have their place, but that place is in submission to God and his will.
I’ve heard it said, “It’s better to act your way into a feeling than to feel your way into an action” and I think that’s often true.
I want to do the right things regardless of whether I feel like it or not. I want to feed my True Self and starve my Old Self. I want my energy and momentum to go forwards rather than sideways or backwards.
How about you? What do you want? Which dog (or Self) are you feeding the most?