Working women are looking to one of the world's top female execs, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, as she dishes out advice on work in her much-written-about, much-talked-about book, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead.

In a world where we expect to have to choose between work and family, Sandberg wants to introduce "and" into a conversation that has mainly been about the "either/or," writes Gayle Tzemach Lemmon in The Atlantic.

For her efforts, Sandberg has been criticized by other women, from Maureen Dowd to Anne-Marie Slaughter, who characterize Sandberg as "looking down" on women who don't have the success she does and offering them a sort of "pull yourself up by the bootstraps" ethic. But Sandberg is fully aware of her privileges, and it seems a little hypocritical for readers to pretend they would be interested in advice from someone without Sandberg's success.

Sandberg focuses on women because she argues that we tend to limit ourselves, rather than enforcing limits on our environment. She encourages women to take on more responsibilities at work while making the demands necessary to make their lives balance.

"In addition to the external barriers erected by society, women are hindered by barriers that exist within ourselves. We hold ourselves back in ways both big and small, by lacking self-confidence, by not raising our hands, and by pulling back when we should be leaning in," Sandberg wrote. This sounds critical, but to me it reads as empowering. Sandberg is urging readers who say "no" to try "yes, but with conditions."

I've been stuck in a workplace where I did plenty of "leaning in," but the culture and other employees did not make it easy to set boundaries or make demands. While Sandberg mainly addresses working moms, those of us without husbands or without kids value commitments to our communities, friends, and churches, and we don't want to sacrifice our lives to work, either.

Sandberg's advice is not exactly revolutionary: Find a mentor; learn negotiation strategies; understand the relative value your field sets on certain skills; be persistent in making requests; know what makes for a reasonable demand and make it. She also suggests women join a "Lean In circle," a small group of professional women, linked to a "global community," that's supposed to meet throughout the year. She advocates that women discuss their careers with each other, because knowing there is precedent when you want to make certain demands can make all the difference.

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I agree with Sandberg that we can each take individual responsibility to address "internal barriers," and also that once women reach the top while successfully negotiating their priorities, more women can climb up after. Trailblazing can be a very selfish activity if leaders don't leave a map.

Will Sandberg's advice help all women? No, there will be some who benefit more than others, whether because their company signed on to the campaign, their boss read the book, their spouse is supportive, or because they lay the groundwork before they get married or have kids. Can it help me, a single woman with career goals based more on glorifying God than personal ambition? Absolutely, because I understand her advice is a framework, not a road map.

Because the real danger of Sandberg's movement is that can foster a different kind of fear, and it's one the Bible specifically warns us against: The fear of not having enough (in this case, enough opportunities). But sometimes passing up what seems to be a great opportunity is the right thing, because not all opportunities are right for all of us, whether man or woman. And all the skilled negotiating and persistent asking Sandberg recommends can't guarantee any of us will be happy in a job that's not the right one.

Perhaps Christian women in the workplace need double the encouragement, because if Sandberg is correct about the vast majority of women holding themselves back because they're not sure they can lead, the same is likely true of Christian women who are often told they were created to follow. (I am not tackling that debate here, but that position doesn't encourage a woman to assert herself in the workplace, as Sandberg suggests.)

Interestingly, "Lean In circles" sound like Christian women's groups, which begin with an educational lesson, but end up primarily as a place for fellowship and sharing problems. Combining practical business advice and prayer could be a powerful thing, especially when discussed in a group with shared focus and similar priorities.

What I'm describing is the kind of group I would actually join, and frankly, a local church activity with this type of practical purpose and community engagement would fill a gaping hole in my life, and likely the lives of many other Christian career women (yes, we do exist!).

The spirit, if not the content, of Sandberg's "circles" could be a wonderful thing for the Church. Building each other up in practical ways to live as Christ-followers should be the goal of small groups. But also, there is a form of sexism that is more lenient toward stereotypically male priorities than those related to church or children. This is a piece of the glass ceiling that I think—without blaming one another for failing to work hard enough and without characterizing ourselves as victims—we can in good conscience work together to shatter.