When I was a little girl, I was nice. I was a really, really nice girl. And good. Just ask my parents! I was not perfect mind you, but I tried to be good; to follow all of the rules and do everything just right so everyone around me would be pleased with me. I wanted to be pleasing. I wanted to be nice. I tried hard. Too hard. It wore me out. By the time I got into my late thirties, I was completely burnt out, and exhausted from trying so hard to be good, and nice. I felt lost.
Then, I picked up a little book one day that changed my life. Okay, God changed my life, but He used one woman’s story to get my attention. The words penned by Lynne Hybels, author of Nice Girls Don’t Change the World, changed my world. Her story was hauntingly like mine in so many ways. I could relate to just about everything she said. Her urging for women to stop being so nice, and start being dangerous, caught my attention. I cried like a baby throughout the book, which I devoured in a few hours. And then I read it again, and wept even harder. Years of pain and exhaustion from trying so hard to do everything just right came flooding through my tears. I began my own journey of self-reflection that led to peeling back layers of self-doubt. I examined years of patterns of decision-making that were driven by the desire to make others happy, always at the expense of my own happiness. I felt alive again, and energized, as I changed lifelong habits, tapped into my true God-given gifts, and began exercising them to follow my passions.
A pivotal moment came for me when I laid eyes on the last few pages of Nice Girls Don’t Change the World. As I read the Dangerous Women Creed, every word resonated with my spirit; I could feel its truth coursing through my very being. This is who I want to be, I remember shouting into the air! Somehow, I knew this is exactly who God had created me to be, and I had wandered very far away from it. When we make choices that are incongruent with our values, we become anxious and depressed. When we try to be someone God did not create us to be, we become exhausted and frustrated.
Hope whispers, live dangerously!
I believe that God has a special place in His heart for all women. The Dangerous Women Creed spoke to my soul so deeply, that I printed it, framed it, and displayed it on my desk as a daily reminder to be who I was meant to be. I was recently reminded of this pivotal moment in my journey, during a conversation with a friend and colleague about the difference between being nice and being kind. And yes, there is a big difference! I was experiencing an inner conflict about choosing the nice path – the one of least resistance, or the kinder path, which would involve a conversation pertaining to some truth that could be potentially painful for the other person. As I processed this with my friend, she reminded me that maybe I was being too “nice”, when what I needed to do was be “kind”. Honesty and authenticity are at the core of kindness, and these are qualities I value. Dangerous women are kind; nice girls are, well….just nice. I went home and read over The Dangerous Women Creed for the umpteenth time and there, in its core message, I found the courage to stop being so nice in this situation, and be kind. Kindness honors telling the truth in love. Niceness honors nothing except just being nice. Which is fine I guess if you don’t want to change the world.
As a result of revisiting the power behind the words in The Dangerous Women Creed, I was moved to reach out to its author, and ask for permission to publish it in my blog. She graciously agreed – thank you Lynne! I share it with you, as I have with many, many women through the years, in hopes that it will inspire you to be the woman God intended you to be – a dangerous one! Below the creed, is a link to Lynne Hybels website, if you would like to check it out; I believe it will inspire you too.
Here’s to you sisters – let’s live dangerously!
Dangerous Women Creed
Dear God, please make us dangerous women.
May we be women who acknowledge our power to change, and grow, and be radically alive for God.
May we be healers of wounds and righters of wrongs.
May we weep with those who weep and speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.
May we cherish children, embrace the elderly, and empower the poor.
May we pray deeply and teach wisely.
May we be strong and gentle leaders.
May we sing songs of joy and talk down fear.
May we never hesitate to let passion push us, conviction compel us, and righteous anger energize us.
May we strike fear into all that is unjust and evil in the world.
May we dismantle abusive systems and silence lies with truth.
May we shine like stars in a darkened generation.
May we overflow with goodness in the name of God and by the power of Jesus.
And in that name and by that power, may we change the world.
Dear God, please make us dangerous women. Amen.
(Posted with permission from the author, Lynne Hybels)