Nice Girls Don't Ask

Three thought patterns that keep us from speaking up

Feeling underappreciated and overlooked, I decided to talk with my team leader. I'm embarrassed to tell you I allowed my frustration to fester for several weeks before I said a word. I didn't want to be "that" girl¬—whiny, needy, and demanding.

As I nervously asked for what I needed and even wanted, I was surprised to hear "yes" to many of my requests. Why hadn't I asked sooner?

I'm not alone. In surveys, 2.5 times more women than men said they feel "a great deal of apprehension" about asking for what they want, whether it be help with household chores or childcare, a higher salary, or even a better price on a car.

As I've reflected on my own discomfort in asking, I've discovered three thought patterns that prevent me from asking friends, my husband, my boss, and yes, even God, for what I need and want.

I'm not worth it. Several years ago, I began to take writing seriously. I researched writing conferences and found one that seemed like a good fit. However, I couldn't bring myself to click "register." As a stay-at-home mom, the cost and inconvenience to my family didn't seem justified.

One evening my husband caught me looking longingly at the conference webpage and asked me about it. He assured me the kids would survive for four days without me—and I was worth the expense.

"Why didn't you just ask?" he muttered as he handed me the credit card.

The lie that we're not worthy of help, advancement, rest, or even little "extras" can be incredibly believable. In today's world, we walk the fine line between overindulgence and selling ourselves short.

When I fall into the trap of devaluing myself, I give it the ultra-spiritual name of "humility." Scripture reminds us God wants us to ask for the blessings he has for us. (Luke 18:1). The truth is, we aren't worthy of his blessings. But he loves us and gave up his Son for us, bestowing immeasurable value into the very fiber of our beings. Real humility points us to Jesus, not our insecurities.

We can boldly, yet humbly, ask for everything God has in store for us. Rejoice in his yeses, be grateful for his no's, and patiently accept his wait-a-whiles. But ask—because he thinks you're worth it.

I'm too scared to ask. The salesman sat smiling at my dining room table, calculator out and ready to sell me a water system our family apparently needed.

He listed his price. I didn't like it.

The thought of asking for a better price scared me to death. My fear defied logic. He wanted to sell me the system. He expected me to negotiate. I'd never have to see him again. Yet I was scared to ask.

June 15, 2012 at 8:26 AM

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