There’s an African proverb that says, “If there’s no enemy within, the enemy outside can do us no harm.” I’ve thought about this many times. Always wondering how to eliminate the enemy within, or at least quiet his voice. The voice that causes doubt or discouragement or even just distracts. The voice that keeps me from moving forward to my next step in my journey of life. When that enemy can become an ally it quickly changes the effects of the fear that controls our thoughts, actions and outcomes. When that enemy becomes a friend, not only can the enemy outside do us no harm, but it is defeated and subject to our will.
The problem with the enemy within is that it is our own voice. Are we not our own worst critics? How is it that even the most confident of men find themselves second guessing different aspects of their lives? They have a swagger in business but our lacking at home. Perhaps they are quick to set challenging goals but shy away when faced with confrontation. We all have different fears and worries. It’s these same worries that cause us to give in to our human nature, choose laziness over work, cower and retreat, to choose the path of least resistance instead of formidable road with greater reward.
In recent past the enemy outside has seem to become louder and louder. It tells men to be more like women and women to be like men. It tells us that masculinity is an assault on feminism and is an antiquated sexist principle. The loud teaches us that to defend the nuclear family makes us intolerant and bigoted. The louder the enemy outside becomes, the more we need the strength within.
How is it that we have decided to listen to the outside voices and allow them to change our very thoughts and beliefs? Is it possible that we never truly had hold of these convictions or are we without our own original thought and will? It seems that when we are easily swayed we are then quick to renounce the things that we once held evident. When one domino falls so fall the rest. We begin to pick and choose the beliefs that are most convenient at that moment. Many times having views that are contradictory to one another. When the teaching of the world contradict the truths of God, the enemy outside is winning.
When we are born into this world we have confidence and hope. We learn to become independent while still relying on our parents. Because of this we learn at a young age that the outside voice has value and importance. While this is true in our early stages of life, it is not necessarily the case later. As we become more self-reliant the opinions of others should have less effect on us. But when we are never taught to trust our own instincts we turn to the voice that is the loudest whether it be right or wrong. It’s the world with its many opinions that can beat this confidence and hope out of us.
How do we allow our children to become less reliant on the world and more confident in their convictions? How can we teach them to stand their convictions fully accepting the consequences that will ultimately come to pass? As long as our voice is the one that our children are listening to we must be willing to defend morality and virtue. We must fight when faced with conflict and not flee. As we stand for truth our children will see in us convictions and actions that drown out the loudest voices. If we are willing to unapologetically uphold goodness they will do the same. Let us be shining examples that refuse to hide in the shadows. When we choose to be steadfast rather than passive we blaze a trail that our children can follow. A path that leads back out of the darkness that has consumed society into the radiance of promise.
We must defeat the enemy within and create that ally that will stand by our side with all assurance. To do this we must decide who we are and what we believe long before being faced with a mob of oppressors. We are bound to be faced with greater challenges and stronger enemies than we have before. Every battle, each stand, and all conflicts will prepare us for our greatest adversities. We must not be our own enemy when there are plenty that will gladly and willingly take that mantle.