Snake SculptureSomething we must overcome or conquer; our enemy or adversary.

Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them? Abraham Lincoln

Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Learning is the ally, not the adversary of genius . . . he who reads in a proper spirit, can scarcely read too much. William Goodwin

our biggest nemesis and worst enemy is always our “self”. Having a nemesis means that we have something or someone who causes us considerable harm or even ruin. The possibilities are endless and the severity ranges from minor hindrances to total debilitation. Most of our problems are self-imposed. We can be only a thorn in our own side, or we can be a merciless jailor, who enjoys persecuting, abusing and making our life miserable.

If we truly seek to become better, to grow and achieve all we can, we must engage our nemeses and overcome them, or at least control them, from constraining and holding us. A partial list of things that can be nemeses include: addictions (drugs, alcohol, food), poor physical condition, poor health, attitude, debt, procrastination, anxiety, abnormal fear, poor education, poor work ethic, self-doubt, negativism, poor motivation and many more. Chances are we have one or more of these as our own personal issues. Some are serious enemies and some are significant weaknesses. Some of them exact heavier tolls from us than others. Eliminating or minimizing their effect upon us may be rather easily accomplished or may be extremely difficult.

If our nemesis is procrastination, most of us have what it takes to overcome this. We can stop procrastinating. If we are beset with poor health, our ability to overcome this may be something in which we are limited in what we can do. We can try to make the most of our condition. Sometimes our nemesis is entirely mental; sometimes it may be physical, sometimes it is both.

Overcoming a nemesis is a process. First, it requires deciding to do something about it. A vivid mental picture of successfully overcoming it is a good beginning. We must have a “burning desire” to succeed. If we develop a dogged determination, we are on the road to improving. We can get there one step at a time. We will have setbacks and doubts, and will be constantly tempted to throw in the towel. Sometimes it is two steps forward, only to fall a step back. The adage of “no pain – no gain” fits like a glove. Overcoming nemeses are major character building events and opportunities. We must persevere and manage ourselves through this process with all the skill and commitment we can muster. If we take on one nemesis at a time we can build a better “us”.

Challenge:  You are challenged to list things you consider to be your nemeses. List the issues you consider as limitations, weaknesses, shortcomings and “thorns in your side”. Rank them in order of severity. Start taking action on the top two or three. Decide which one is your top priority. Do whatever you can to make some daily progress. Do little things and take small steps to improvement. Maintain your motivation and self-discipline.

WisdomI count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies; for the hardest victory is over self. Aristotle

Spiritual: (NIV)

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matt 6:33

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.  Philippians 4:13

If any of you lack wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. James 1:5

That, which keeps us from living up to our potential, is us. It is to a lesser degree our circumstances or situations. It is the enemy within, “us”. We are responsible for our lot in life, not our parents, not our environment, none of these things. It is us. When we accept responsibility and start holding ourselves more accountable we can begin to get a much better handle on this. Even with this we can go only so far without needing and getting God’s help.

Prayer:   Help me to be aware of my weaknesses. Grant me strength and help me to overcome them.

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