I ordered the book “Nice Girls Don’t Change The World” last week thinking that I would add it to my stack of books I’d like to read someday. It arrived the day before my husband and I were heading out of town for a weekend away. And in typical fashion, I was throwing my airplane bag together approximately 16 seconds before walking out the door (note: when I’m 40, I’m so going to pack at least 1 hour before I leave….#grownupgoals). When I realized the book’s petite size, it instantly found its way into the bag and it met all my requirements. The book was small. The lines were double spaced. And, there were pictures. Folks, this was going to be a quick read and I love a quick read. Waiting on the tarmac, I opened it up and realized good things were in store for me. By the end of the first page it was clear Hybel was going to give me a glimpse into her life, personal thoughts and emotions. Cue Happy Katie in an airplane.
Hybel opens by describing herself as a nice girl for the first half of her life. Her self description included being a people pleaser, a hard worker, a rule follower and someone always pressuring herself to be better. This is when I checked the front cover to make sure I had not authored the book.
When Hybel turned 39, coincidentally the same age I am now, she ran out of steam. Her internal and external selves were not in sync and she sought help. She discovered:
The opposite of a nice girl, I learned, is a “good woman.” Being a good woman means trading the safe, passive, people-pleasing behavior of niceness for the dynamic power of true goodness. It means moving from the weakness and immaturity of girlhood toward the strength and maturity of womanhood.
She began to recognize how God wants us to see ourselves and our responsibilities versus the false assumptions we make about God and unknowingly live out. And she uncovered the force of fear and all its debilitating power. Ultimately she saw through the muck of her actions and thoughts, finally getting to the core of her purpose.
As soon as I finished the book, I mentally added this to my list of books I’d like to pass on to my daughters someday. First I love that it is written by a woman in a different stage of life than me. She is able to reflect and offer wisdom through her own experiences. Reading her story and seeing how God used her struggles gives hope. Second, life is hard. And sometimes our own struggles seem to dominate our thoughts. Or worse, we believe the lie that we are the only people who might be suffering because the world likes us to think that perfection is attainable. And perfection and suffering do not exist together. Reading about another person’s troubles helps people connect on a genuine human level and inspires us to better ourselves and help those around us. And third, Hybel is vulnerable enough to share that when she was in pain, she reached out for help. And at some point in my children’s lives, chances are they will need support. I have repeatedly talked with my girls about the importance of healthy relationships and how there are professionals able to help in times of distress. Oftentimes, we humans react by keeping pain bottled up rather than reaching out for assistance which can provide relief and guidance. Reading stories about others who have received help lessens the stigma associated with seeking professional assistance from mental pain.
I recommend adding this book to your reading list. Or even better, purchasing it, reading it and then passing it along as a gift of inspiration to another woman you know that could use encouragement as she navigates life. Plus, my favorite part of the book was towards the end. Hybel does not end her story by being content with her knowledge of what comprises a good woman. She takes this truth, mixes in some passion and energy and describes her transformation into a downright dangerous woman. And this is the type of woman I hope to be someday and I that I wish for my girls too.
Here is the link to the book if you are interested!