The “gremlin series” of articles I have written has been hugely successful with over 40,000 readers all total. Human nature tends to lead us to see the gremlins in the lives of other people but if that is all you see then you are missing the point.  A gremlin in this sense is a self-defeating behavior that reappears in life, work, and relationships that prevents you from achieving a new level of success. Like in the movie by the same name, gremlins usually are latent and easy to live with until they are activated by external or internal factors, either past, present, or perceived future. Every morning when you look in the mirror, if you look closely are your failings, you are likely to see your gremlin. Naming them can help you to be aware of your self-defeating behavior so you may make intentional decisions that are edifying and rewarding to all involved. The introductory article to this series is at Get Out of Your Own Way.

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So, what is your personal gremlin like? What do you do repeatedly that sabotages your success? What do you do or say that repeatedly sabotages your relationships? You need to face your personal gremlin but how often we avoid seeing reality of our own ugliness…and I am not speaking of physical appearance but I am speaking of personal sin and failings.

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An elderly woman had been diagnosed by her eye doctor as having severe cataracts. As a person ages the lens of the eyes ever so gradually become covered with an opaque film that affects sight. Someone with cataracts in both eyes may have variable perceptions of light and visual stimuli. It may be difficult to see clearly when looking in a mirror; color perception is affected as white objects appear yellow or gray; and night-driving is difficult as oncoming headlights leave one temporarily blinded with what might be called a “whiteout.” The woman had the cataract surgery and went to see her doctor for a follow-up appointment.

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She said, “Doctor, there is one thing I don’t like about my vision after the surgery.”

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“What would that be?” the doctor inquired.

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She replied, “I have used facial cream every day for years. You know, the kind that gets rid of wrinkles. And I noticed that the cream is not working anymore.”

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 The doctor said, “Why don’t you try putting the cream on the mirror next time and see if that helps.”

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To err is human and to avoid seeing one’s own sin, failings, and gremlins is also human. The Bible says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Don’t think for a moment that you are the only one in history who has avoided sin or is beyond judgment of it. There is only one person in all of history who is sinless, and he was crucified and rose again so that when we look in the mirror and confess our sin, he forgives. Yes, the person is Jesus Christ.

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Perhaps you are a Christian but still have deeply rooted sin (gremlins). The remedy is the same but what you are looking for is genuine TRANSFORMATION. Include a time in every day during which you honestly look in the mirror. Spend time in prayer asking deliverance from besetting sin in your life. Someday perhaps when you look in the mirror, the gremlin will be gone and you will see the new you.



  1. What is the name of your personal gremlin?
  2. What are you doing to get rid of your gremlins?



Read the Complete Series

Introduction to Gremlins: Get Out of Your Own Way!

Name Your Gremlin: Blamer

Name Your Gremlin: Denial

Name Your Gremlin: Scaredy Gremlin

Name Your Gremlin: Jekyll and Hyde

Name Your Gremlin: Pigpen Gremlin

Name Your Gremlin: Pride and Arrogance

Gremlins and Guardians: Stay on the Right Path- Integrity



Dr. Tom Cocklereece is CEO of RENOVA Coaching and Consulting, LLC. He has 20 years experience as a  pastor, and is an author, professional coach, leadership specialist, and a member Coach/Teacher/Speaker for the John Maxwell Team

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