I know I talk a lot about not being the nice girl. I have a personality that has been described as too harsh, too pushy, bossy even. I tend to be rough around the edges. And I celebrate that, because that’s how I’m made, and even as I learn to try to soften, there is a drive to me that I have learned to not only live with, but love.
But the more I meet and hear from other dynamic and strong women, the more I am learning that we cannot say that only the loud girls are called to leadership. It’s not only the brutish ones of us that get a seat at the table. I think we tend to rise to the top because we push our way in. But we need to take a moment in praise of the nice girl.
My friend Katie is a nice girl. And I say that in a way that I mean that I want to be like her in so many ways. She has the most gentle spirit. She has wonderful things to say about people. She is just as full of joy as someone more boisterous, but she is easy to be around. If I am like bold coffee, she is like a cup of tea – too much of me and people get tired, but she is one you could have around all day. You feel good about yourself when you have spent time with her.
The nice girl is one that can feel like she gets run over, especially if she is called to leadership. She’s not interested in pushing her way into a conversation – she’s happy to wait her turn. And when she does speak, her words are usually gold – their scarcity making them hold more weight than mine.
We often forget about ‘the nice girl’ when we talk about women in ministry. We want space for those of us who are bold and loud and wild. We want you to hear us, to not dismiss us. But we cannot devalue those who display gentleness more than they display what we name as strength. These women are among us and they are powerhouses. We must not say that you have to be loud and up front to be of value in the Kingdom.
I write and speak from a place of intensity because that is who I am. I am a person who waves my hands wildly when I speak. I got my mother’s rollicking personality, which means when I feel something, I feel it hard, and it is usually immediately expressed strongly. I say what I feel in strong words. I tend to leap into things with both feet and in my passion, I can leave people behind. (I don’t want to be all of these things, but that is an honest assessment.) A common nugget of feedback I get after a talk is, “You’re like a firehose.” I am these things and I own them.
But I need women in my life who are more steady than I. Women who choose their words wisely. Women who see the girls at the back of the crowd who won’t push their way to the front. The Kingdom needs these women. The Kingdom needs women who see the quiet ones, who connect with those others look over because they are still.
The Kingdom needs nice girls. The Kingdom needs quiet girls. You don’t have to force yourself to be a tornado force of strength. Being a gentle and faithful breeze is absolutely necessary. You can reach people I can’t. You can see people I can’t.
I think my favorite thing about speaking in front of groups of women is the wild diversity I see there. Punk girls with half their heads shaved and girls with long blond hair. Girls in dresses and heels and girls with sports logos on their hoodies. Girls who laugh loud at my jokes (terrible jokes, these girls are saints) and agree loudly with my points, and girls who just quietly take it all in. Girls in college who are already married and girls who have never had a boyfriend. Girls who push their way up to talk to me after, and girls who quietly wait until everyone else has left to chat. All madly in love with Jesus. All wanting to give their lives for the Kingdom.
Girls – we are so incredibly diverse. God has created us with such wild creativity, and it leaks out into every single way that we express ourselves. This is a benefit to the Kingdom. We are all so wildly different and we make such a beautiful expression of the image of God. We are all needed – and we are needed as we are.
So hey, nice girl. We need you. We need you as you are. Too quiet and too sweet and too nice. The Kingdom needs you. And those of us who are loud and bold – we need you bad. Keep steady, keep up what you are doing. You are seen. And you are necessary to this work.