It is my honor, today, to introduce you all to Lee Merrill, and amazing woman of God who lives life to the encouragement of others and to the glory of God. Much wisdom can be gleaned from her guest blog today. Enjoy!
I Can’t Quit People
By Lee Merrill
Sometimes, I feel like I’m two separate people stuck in one me.
There’s the one who wants Jesus to be everything. She drinks in God’s presence and truth the way a thoroughbred drinks water after the race of its life.
Then, there’s the one who can’t get enough people praise. She strives and strains for “Atta girls” the way a house pet begs for tidbits from the table.
I totally get Paul’s lament in Romans because I could have written it myself.
I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time. It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge. I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? (Romans 7:17-24 MSG)
Sometimes, the battle of my two selves gets the best of me and tempts me to withdraw from both God and people. The same shame that compelled Adam and Eve to hide from God in the garden pulls me away from God, the One who holds my hope.
But I can’t quit God. His Spirit is intertwined with mine in a love knot too tight to undo.
Shame sneers. You’ll never change. Everything good you do is poisoned by your pathetic yearning for approval. Quit loving. Quit serving. Quit writing. Quit trying.
But I can’t quit people.
I live in a cluttered home with a husband and three sons. God’s gifts to me.
I teach junior high students with special needs, alongside dozens of colleagues. God’s gifts to me.
I do life with a few hundred beautiful, imperfect Believers at a church down the road. God’s gifts to me.
I connect with hundreds of truth seekers through my blog, social media, and writer’s conferences. God’s gifts to me.
So the battle continues.
Each time my craving for human approval gets into begging mode below my table filled with God’s gifts, I ask God to satisfy my soul with good things—God things (Psalm 103:5). I fight the urge to hide my struggle from God, as if I could if I tried. Only when I lay myself bare can he clothe me with righteousness (Isaiah 61:10). I enlist help from people who love me enough to call me out on my crud, for “wounds from a friend can be trusted” (Proverbs 27:6 NIV).
Lord, I’m no quitter. I refuse to let shame steal my hope or the flesh and bone gifts You keep handing to my heart. Purify my heart, my mind, and my motives. Empower me to starve my craving for the approval of people and to feed and water my craving for more and more of Your presence and power in my life. All for Your glory and my good, I pray, AMEN.
A Southern magnolia transplanted in the Arizona desert, Lee Merrill (LeeBird) likes to call herself a full-time encourager. Whether she’s teaching junior high kids with special needs at her day job or penning prayer gifts on her blog at night, Lee is all about motivating herself and others to fly!
Her biggest fans are her husband, Cliff, and their three sons, Garrett, Logan, and Jacob. They share a cluttered but happy home with two Shihtzus and a bearded dragon named Charlie.