Rachel Hollis is taking the world by storm—and I get it. She's beautiful, smart, ambitious, funny, and a crazy good writer. I mean, the girl can tell a story that will have you crying one minute and shooting Diet Coke out of your nose the next.
She's carved out a nice little corner of the internet for herself, cultivating a community over a million strong and growing. She cooks, decorates, gives advice, and is known for her no nonsense honesty and humor. "I love Jesus, and I cuss a little. I love Jesus, and I drink alcohol. I love Jesus, and some of my best friends are gay," she recently posted on Facebook. She and her husband invite couples of all stripes (unmarried, married, same-sex) to take part in their couples conference, where the participants are encouraged to "learn some tangible advice. . .and make-out like a couple of teenagers."
To be honest, I hadn't heard of Rachel Hollis until last week when a Facebook friend wrote to ask if I had read Girl, Wash Your Face. She expressed some confusion over the messages in Hollis' book and and on her social media, so I bought the book and read it over the weekend.
Hollis is a self-proclaimed Christian, and the book is published by Thomas Nelson (a Christian publisher). It's a New York Times bestseller and currently #1 in the Religion & Spirituality category on Amazon. References to the Bible, Jesus, her faith, and Christianity are peppered throughout the book. It's safe to say that this is not intended to be read as a purely secular self-help book. I won't kid myself into thinking this is some kind of devotional—but it is marketed as Christian. This will be an important thing to remember as you read this article.
It's no shocker that Hollis connects deeply with her audience. Having survived a difficult childhood and the suicide of her brother when she was still in her early teens, the advice she gives has not come cheap or easy.
There was that time her boyfriend continually treated her poorly. After dumping her and smashing her heart into pieces, he called to see how she was doing. When she calmly said, "Hey. I am done with this. I am done with you. Don't ever call me again," and shut off her phone, I was sending high-fives and a hearty, "You go girl!" Sadly, she didn't attribute this wisdom to knowing who she is in Christ. She credits self-love.
You see, someone can hold to false premises and still land on truth from time to time. Should we take care of our bodies and our hearts? Should we set goals and work hard to accomplish them? Of course. But as Christians, the why and the how are crucial. I find that Hollis has bought into five common lies that seem to be the starting point for all her advice.
Lie #1: You come first, and your happiness depends on you.
Make no mistake, sisters. This book is all about YOU. In chapter one, she writes, "You are meant to be the hero of your own story,” and “You, and only you are ultimately responsible for who you become and how happy you are.” She plainly states, "You should be the very first of your priorities." The book is littered with references to "self-love" and "self-care." In fact, this theme is so pervasive that it forms the infrastructure for how she responds to everything from hardship to trauma to parenting to working out.
In all of these scenarios, the answer is always something like picking yourself up by your bootstraps and striving and trying and running a marathon and getting therapy and reciting mantras and reading a good blog post (she may be on to something there) and seeing a guru and drinking wine and not drinking wine and relaxing and taking a vacation and keeping the promises you make to yourself and. . .and literally anything but surrendering your life to Jesus and putting your trust in Him.
Your happiness, your success, your everything— it's all up to you, ladies. I don't know about you, but I don't think that's very good news. Jesus offers us true joy and peace, but only after we realize that we are not the center of our own lives and we are no longer in charge. He said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24)
Lie #2: You should never give up on your dreams.
Assuming you have a big dream to not give up on, Hollis spills quite a bit of ink trying to convince you that no matter what it is. . .you should never let it go. Her advice is to not take no for an answer. But instinctively, we all know this doesn't work, don't we? This is confirmed every time we cringe at the tone-deaf American Idol contestant screeching his way through the audition, only to be told he stinks. We wince when he cries and angrily promises to come back when he's sold more records than Justin Timberlake.
We all know he should give up on his dream. We all know it's not realistic.
What is Rachel Hollis' dream? I felt actual sadness when I read it:
Jesus never called us to chase after power, money, and fame (and He actually had quite a bit to say about those things). He called us to lay our pursuit of all that stuff down and follow Him. He said, “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." (Matthew 10:39)
Lie #3: Religious Pluralism is true.
Religious Pluralism is basically the idea that all roads lead to God. There is no right way or wrong way to think about God, and my religion is no better or more "right" than yours. This is a message Hollis shouts from the proverbial rooftops. The only problem? It's a worldview. It's an actual religious belief about God that claims to trump all others.
What do I mean? If you claim that all religions are equally valid and true, then you are excluding all religions that don't affirm that.
Logically, this sentiment can't be true—because all religions contradict each other at some point. And Christianity is, by nature, exclusive. Jesus said, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father but by me." (John 14:6) Religious Pluralism is a dogmatic religious belief—and it contradicts Christianity.
Lie #4: Judgment is bad
Every time you tell people to never judge, you are automatically committing the very misstep you're railing against. Just by saying, "Don't judge," you are judging those who (by your standard) are being super judgmental. This is highlighted in a particularly shocking section of chapter one in which Hollis gives a hypothetical example.
She asks you to imagine a friend named Pam who has started several diets, only to fail two weeks in and gain back all the weight she lost. She writes,
So, if you fail at a diet and gain your weight back, you can't be trusted? I actually had to read that section three times just to be sure I wasn't misunderstanding her. I wasn't. Can you see how judgy this is for someone who has a zero tolerance policy for judgment on her Facebook page?
When giving practical advice on meeting new people and making friends, she advises that from the first handshake, "We pay attention to things like character and heart and wisdom and experience." But how can anyone evaluate those things in another person without judging? I'm not pointing this out to criticize, but to illustrate why "not judging" is not only impossible, but to preach it is self-defeating. We all make judgments—and what's important is that we judge rightly. Jesus said, "Judge with right judgment." (John 7:24)
Lie #5: Sin is not the problem.
This is the deepest and most pervasive lie that coils its way around the book like a python choking its prey. I saved it for last because it's the bedrock of what all the other lies are built upon.
I can't state this plainly enough. Sin is your enemy, and you absolutely cannot save yourself from it. You are not in control of that situation.
That may sound harsh, but it's actually the best news ever. You see, you and I are sinners. We can't get around it. Everything that's broken in our lives is because of sin. Sin must be paid for. There is no peace between God and sin. Justice must be done.
But this is where the good news comes in. God sent His Son Jesus to live a sinless life so that He could take the punishment of our sin on Himself. He paid for it. He took the punishment. Justice was done. If we put our faith in Him, we can be made right with God. That doesn't mean we won't still have our struggles, or that we'll magically have the power to never sin again. It means we don't have the same relationship with sin we had before. It means we've been declared "righteous," which means we have peace with God. The Bible even takes a step further—it says that God "adopts" us into His family.
Adopted by God Himself? That means I am not a failure—even if I never lose the baby weight (my "baby" is seven—don't judge). Even if I never successfully complete a diet. Even if I have a bad day and yell at my kids. Even if I never reach my financial goals or climb the ladder at my dream job. Even if my life consists of nothing more than living in quiet and humble service to God.
I’ll be honest. Reading this book exhausted me. It’s all about what I can be doing better and what I’m not doing good enough. How to be better at work, parenting, and writing. How to be less bad at cardio, sex, and you know, changing the world.
But knowing the good news of who I am in Christ brings true rest.
Rest from striving, my friend. Yes. Wash your face. Take care of yourself. Make good choices. But know who you are in Christ. If you let this truth become the foundation of how you see the world, you will be content to glorify Him in every situation, whether you're cleaning bathrooms or relaxing at your beach house, changing diapers or crushing your career goals.
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9/2/2018 11:47:31 pm
I had never heard of her or her book until you mentioned it in your podcast. I will be skipping it. I really get irked by the whole “self-focused” culture we live in and how 99% of the “self help” books are just about focusing on yourself and empowering yourself. I don’t see that anywhere in the Bible. Thanks for reading it though! With the limited amount of time I have, I am so picky with the books I read. I want meat.
9/3/2018 08:41:32 am
I’m so glad I’m not the only one who felt red flags go off listening to her. I just stopped following her on Instagram two days ago because I started questioning some of the things she was saying! I had not bought the book but was considering it until then. This is why I tell my girls it’s so important to KNOW His Word!!
9/3/2018 11:59:10 am
Sounds like she's trying awfully hard to write like Glennon Doyle....who also has claims of loving Jesus, but who swears--and who is now married to a woman. While much of what these women say speaks to the feminists' hearts of the world, they aren't speaking the TRUTH according to the Word of God. The Bible tells us that there will be people in the last days who sound good, who speak false truths and we must be very careful. I, too, like a lot of what Glennon Doyle says. I have her books on my shelf and have read them. But I desire more than anything to be obedient to the Word of God rather than what 'sounds' good to my feminine heart.
9/4/2018 08:52:46 pm
Wow. I sure do love Jesus and I found this book to be super motivational in life and in my relationship with Him. I’ve listened to many of Rachel’s podcasts, and while I don’t agree with all her theology she definitely loves the Lord and walks closely with Him. We don’t share the same convictions on all things and I’m sure she and I would have some good doctrinal debates, but I whole heartedly can respect what she does and how many women she is encouraging! She has a different platform for it than just a women’s bible speaker and I appreciate that so much.
9/4/2018 10:11:04 am
She and her husband invite couples of all stripes (unmarried, married, same-sex) to take part in their couples conference, where the participants are encouraged to "learn some tangible advice. . .and make-out like a couple of teenagers."
9/4/2018 02:54:10 pm
I sincerely hope you do not wear men’s clothing (pants) or eat meat on Fridays. I hope that if your neighbor or daughter commits adultery you stone them to death in the streets. I hope that your husband does not shave his beard or cut his hair, and that neither of you worship football (pigskin). I hope that you do not mix the fabrics of your clothing or that your husband views you as his possession, or that you do not own gold or silver. As these are all “abominations” equivalent to your ignorant comments regarding my marriage. Unbelievable how hypocritical “Christians” are. Pick up a bible and read it cover to cover before you throw the first stone.
9/4/2018 03:07:39 pm
Meg...all of those things that people like to bring up when talking about this issue with Christians are from the old testament. Meaning after Jesus came, died, rose again, and forgave our hot mess sins...no longer were needed to be done. I see a lot of people use this example but it's not an accurate agreement for Christians who believe Jesus is their savior.
9/4/2018 03:32:46 pm
Hi Meg, your comment reflects a common misunderstanding of biblical hermeuntics (interpretation). If we did all the things you listed, we would actually be acting in disobedience to the Bible and the new covenant under which we now live. If anyone is interested in learning more, this post is a good place to start:
9/4/2018 09:17:01 pm
I agree totally!
9/5/2018 08:39:04 am
While I appreciate you views I think you forgot the new covenant doesn't say it is your job to seek out people and hate them because it makes us feel better about our sin. I think it says love others as I have loved you. Can you look at your life and your sin and how Christ still loves and seeks you and then say we should do something else with other people with a sin? I will not debate homosexuality itself, but do you think one person ever came to know Christ because a so called Christian hated and excluded them???? That is what she talks about. Loving people because they are people, each a creation of Christ. You made it about homosexuality, not the person.
9/5/2018 10:30:43 am
Congratulations, another Christian picking apart another Christian who they do not know in an open forum. I’m sure Rachel
9/5/2018 11:10:59 am
Hi Abby, thanks for your comment. Since a few others have expressed a similar sentiment—that I should have contacted Rachel before making my thoughts public, I'll just answer that here.
9/5/2018 02:09:19 pm
You're assuming she is a Christian. Paul might say she' s a false teacher, tickling ears, leading people astray. There are valid points made here to question whether she is, actually, a believer in THE Jesus, not some made-up Jesus of feel-good religion. Self-love and dreams of vacation homes being the motivator and saying failed dieters are untrustworthy and encouraging same-sex couples to "make out" as couples therapy don't fall into the apostolic teaching. They very much fall into telling people what they WANT, not what they need. And so it sells. Of course, it sells.
9/5/2018 05:35:38 pm
9/5/2018 01:02:22 pm
Yes!! Thank you for more precisely and eloquently defining the red flags that were waving for me as I listened to a few of her podcasts this past week. I’d probably be great friends with her in real life 😄 but a false gospel should be taken seriously.
9/3/2018 09:20:02 am
I thought of reading this book because I've seen others I know posting about it but didn't provide much detail. I was curious. I even bought it on Kindle. I am thankful now as a very low price so I won't feel bad by not reading it.
9/4/2018 09:46:12 pm
I agree with you, Sarah Christie. I won't be putting it in my head either. Alisha Childers, I appreciate the info in this article.
9/5/2018 09:55:20 am
9/3/2018 10:21:05 am
Your theology is correct, Alisa. One thing I do wish to comment on is that the way the word judgement is used sometimes comes across negatively. We make judgement calls all the time and judgement is the correct denotation, but sometimes alternate words with better connotation change the tone. Judgement comes across as harsh, a formal proceeding where an authority makes a legal ruling and passes down a sentence upon the guilty. That's not the way we are using the word. Assessment, evaluation, conclusion, discernment come across as something that has been studied and weighed for reasonableness, logic, practicality and feasibility.
9/3/2018 01:22:43 pm
How we use the word colloquially is far less important than how Jesus used the word. And really, for a person who understands the ugliness and destructiveness of sin, we believers should seek God's judgment of our sin, through other people. Anyone who reacts negatively to even the word MAY have some big problems with God.
9/4/2018 11:22:20 am
9/4/2018 11:39:42 pm
Margie Black - I so agree with your post. I talk to people all the time who state that we cannot make judgments against other people (and they are right according to the correction definition), but they do not consider the alternative terms that better state what we all need to be doing (and do do all of the time). You clearly stated what we need to do to be wise, discerning Christ-Followers.
9/3/2018 10:38:01 am
Oh Alisa...thank you so much for this blog post! I literally cried tears of joy at the encouragement I felt as I read it. This book was entertaining, but I was exhausted and a little overwhelmed by the whole thing. I was just thinking, I wish I could talk to (because yes, I think of you as my friend 😊) Alisa about this book! And praise God, I see your blog today! I have learned so much from your blog and your podcasts...you have helped me to think things through more clearly through the lens of scripture and I am so thankful for your influence. Thank you so very much for your thoughtful and God honoring blogs and podcasts. You are awesome!
9/3/2018 12:37:14 pm
Wow, Fawn. That is awesome and I’m so thankful. Thanks for taking the time to encourage me!
9/3/2018 01:26:05 pm
And also thank you for taking one for the team, and writing this critique after reading the book, so that others need not.
9/5/2018 02:46:42 pm
9/3/2018 01:04:12 pm
Alisa, I find your commentaries so valuable and so biblically based, and they stand in stark contrast to leftist-secular values being trumpeted as biblical Christianity. Thank you!!
9/3/2018 01:14:13 pm
THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!
9/3/2018 02:22:46 pm
Your entire website has been balm on my heart and confirmation of so many things the Lord has brought to my attention the last few months. After reading your recent blog on Rachel Hollis, the Holy Spirit led me this morning to this passage which sums this all up: 2 Timothy 3:6-7, “They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth.”
9/3/2018 03:40:53 pm
Thank you for brining this too light!! I stopped following her a few months ago as her teaching/advice did not sit well with my spirit.
9/3/2018 03:47:17 pm
Thank you for your honesty, I am so afraid of our young women reading such garbage!
9/3/2018 06:24:31 pm
THANK YOU ALISA! I have come to rely on your theologically sound views to know who I should put into the "progressive Christianity" category. Helps me to know who to avoid!
9/3/2018 08:35:12 pm
Thank you for this and I’m glad I wasn’t the only one. I felt the exact same way. I read (listened to) it a few months ago after I saw everyone raving about it. I had serious reservations with several chapters but in all, I thought it was just pretty boring. The same old, same old. I know I should take better care of myself. I know I should have more sex to have better sex. I know I’m a kick butt mom even on my bad days. I read to learn something new. And this wasn’t it. And to add to it the lack of Jesus and his redemption and holiness and his passion for us to be like him in order to change the world was sad honestly. I hope it helps someone and doesn’t hinder people from walking in a true, loving but jealous relationship with Jesus Christ. Thanks for your honesty!
9/3/2018 11:23:20 pm
I read this review and I read the book, I agree with parts of both, isn't that the whole purpose, we are a Body, we need eachother, do I think for a Second, that Rachel doesn't know Jesus? Nope, she absolutely does and speaks to it. Here's my thoughts, this genre of Christian Women writers reaches deep into "christian" and non- Christian cultures and shows sooo much Grace. Which is essentially so much of God! I find your last point poignantly revealing of your humanness too, and your own inner struggles even in knowing the Peace and Identity in Christ. (which we all have these struggles), that you struggled with guilt and shame from this message, so your filter in reading it was to pick it apart. To me that indicates that Yes, do you have very real and valid biblical points, you sure do as does Rachel. I as a "mature Christian woman" can agree with. I also believe this book is a huge tool to share with a group of Women who don't know Christ as their cornerstone or in relationship and are struggling with why they are even Christians or pursuing their dreams or why they feel burnt out (cause we all know many churches aren't addressing that) Self care is important, as is self love, "Love others as you love yourself". If you hate, shame and judge yourself how do you love others. At the end of it all, what I Trust is both of your walks with God and pursuit of Him, but i do not believe Jesus sees it so Black and White as we would like to believe. Instead He sees both's struggles and realities and matures us in His Grace, His way in His timing.
9/4/2018 09:11:28 am
Agreed. I think that if a million people read her book this may lead to maybe just one finding Christ & that could change their world for the better. Not everyone is on the same spiritual path at the same time.
9/5/2018 01:29:31 am
The only comment on here that I wholey agree with is Megan’s comment above. I saw as many red flags, from my literal viewpoint of needing to obey Jesus’ commands, in Alisa’s counterpoints as I saw in Rachel’s original points. Other things coming from each, I agreed with, also the Bible heavily supports. Hollis’ book & Alisa’s critique of it are badly needed in the church today. The 2 different positions that are represented helps show the disconnect between the multiple roles that Western Christian women have to fill just to survive. And Jesus loves survivors. He’s the Reason we survive.
9/4/2018 09:47:36 am
Thank you for your thoughts! You said it so much better than I could say myself. I read the book and I also read this article feeling that both are right in their ways and it doesn't have to be one or the other.
9/5/2018 12:16:45 pm
I appreciated what both women have said- except the one that says there are other ways to God besides Christ. Today many Christians said they believed the total Bible as the truth but apply it in many different ways. We seem to judge different sins in different ways. Sin is sin. There are 10 abominations listed in the Bible. Homosexual behavior is only one. The others are pride, lying, strife, etc. The point to judge someone you have to have the right motivation, all confessed up sins, and totally right with God. And you also have to judge equally- and that means judging other sins in the same way as homosexual behavior. And you have to do it with respect and dignity for that person while not approving the sin.
9/4/2018 11:34:27 am
Thank you, Megan, for your loving response to this article. We are all in different places in our spiritual journey and we need not be judging others. I’m pretty confident that Rachel Hollis is speaking her truth as she sees it and is reaching a lot of women who need to hear her words. It doesn’t mean anyone is better or more spiritual than others. Let’s practice kindness and love toward each other and then we all win!
9/4/2018 12:44:47 pm
9/4/2018 01:58:28 pm
Agreed. I picked this book up while in a very dark place and it was so encouraging to pull me out of it! (Such a dark place that turning to God wasn’t my first response, but once I “washed my face” HE is right where I turned bc that’s my foundation.) This isn’t meant to lead people to Jesus or make her sound like a bible scholar. She’s a Christian woman like all of us and idk about you but I wake up everyday and read the Bible and I promise I always mix things up trying to apply them to my life in some way, shape or form. She never claims to be some know it all she writes to motivate woman and that’s exactly what she’s doing. I say take it “with a grain of salt” (take the good leave the bad). There are bigger things to worry about of this world than where a motivational woman got some biblical teaches wrong in her book. Bottom line if I have a friend who says she picked up this book I’m going to encourage her desire to change and want something better for herself not tell her about how some of the things in this book aren’t correct. Now if she tells me she got saved by reading “Girl wash your face” i might be a little worried. But I’ll always encourage someone who’s trying to better themselves. No one picks this book up looking for guidance to grow closer to God they are looking for the encouragement to search within themselves to fight for the things they want in their life whatever that may be. Just my two cents.
9/4/2018 06:17:03 pm
I also picked this up while fighting some internal issues. I had went to Christian book store to grab it and they said they wouldn’t be carrying it. So I thought oh man maybe I should stay away from it. But I ended up grabbing it. I am reading all these comments and thinking maybe this is why the Lord tried to keep me away. But this book spoke to me. The part about feeling small around her father helped me realize for the first time that I have felt small around my mother and other family. I found that part very helpful. Also the part where she discusses her brother’s death, it helped me to realize that I was letting our daughters death hold me back in ways it shouldn’t. I didn’t read this book as a scripture based book. I didn’t agree with all parts of it and how God was discussed often but Jesus was rare if at all. I did like that she always gave Him credit for being Creator and God. But I wasn’t reading it for doctorine purposes. It’s just like most business books who are telling me how to be rich. I don’t want to be rich I just want to learn how to be successful so I can help when I want to give more. I take some parts to heart and others I leave or just put the book away because the conviction is too much. I felt no conviction while reading this book, although now I do feel judged because I went on Facebook declaring how much I liked this book. I took her purpose as to help women feel better about themselves in this dark and lost world. That’s it, no more and no less. I am nothing without Jesus, but sometimes I just need a little help remembering that I shouldn’t be so down on myself. I agree with the comment before I think her purpose was to share grace and that’s how I took the theme to read.
9/4/2018 09:21:22 pm
Well said Cecilia!
9/4/2018 02:12:01 pm
The big question is this: is the Christ she knows and is introducing to readers the Lord and Savior found in Scripture? Or a ‘god who wants you to feel good about yourself and will then bless whatever you chose to do/give you a house in Hawaii’.
9/4/2018 10:35:17 pm
Thank you for THIS in insight. I went to a book signing event this year and met Rachel. She is so gracious, kind and motivating. She knows she gathers her strength from Jesus... but she is speaking largely to women who don’t... to couples who don’t. That love and grace may just plant the seed for others to seek Him.
9/4/2018 10:55:53 pm
I love your comment. I agree about grace & not everything being black & white. Regular old Protestant Christianity does not seem to realize who EXCLUSIVE it has become.
9/4/2018 11:49:58 pm
Yes, yes, yes Megan!!!
9/5/2018 01:00:04 am
Thank you Megan, you have articulated some of the things I haven't been able to say. I do agree with some points Alisa and others have made and can see the thoughts behind it. But for me, I walked away with a closer relationship with God because of the book. I wasn't raised in a Christian home, I didn't give my life to Christ until I was 27. I have stumbled and I have fell in my walk, I have turned away and been angry at God. I was in the process of building that relationship back when I read this book. It has really drawn me closer, I can't tell you exactly why or which chapter or whatever. I just knew after reading the self care I needed was more Jesus. For me reading some of the deeper Christian authors makes me feel overwhelmed, depressed and just not good enough. A few caused me so much deep regret for not becoming a Christian sooner, for not "starting my children off right", that I truly thought it was too late for me. God will never love me, that's just how some of them made me feel. I believe God meets us where we are, He gives us what we need, we are saved in His timing not our own. I am not a theologian, I have not done in depth studies of the Bible, I've just read it, meditated on it and loved it. Thanks for sharing!
9/4/2018 05:57:27 am
Thank you for your insight, and for holding a light on darkness in our world.
9/4/2018 11:21:06 am
I was wanting some elaboration in this topic, too. Just curious what evidence you used for this point. I haven’t read the book and do not plan to, but I’d like to know more.
9/4/2018 05:17:38 pm
I read the book, several times. I loved the book! I am a Christian, but not a Fundamentalist Christian. She nowhere in the book said that sin was not the problem.
9/4/2018 05:36:56 pm
Hi Michelle, thanks for your comment. Just to clarify, since others have expressed a similar sentiment...my claim is not that Hollis directly wrote, "Sin is not the problem" in her book. My claim is that it's a lie she believes. . .and I stand behind that 100%. Her entire message is to do everything in your own strength.
9/4/2018 07:29:31 am
Thank you for holding the Christian lens up to someone who is influencing many people. Would love it if you'd do this same kind of analysis on Trump and his message.
9/4/2018 07:36:12 am
YES YES YES
9/4/2018 09:39:27 am
I’m not sure that this article is looking from a full perspective. You have very great points that I did not think of when I first read the book. But, I’m not sure that the conclusions or assumptions made is fair without talking to the author directly. Is it not all about perspective and a small piece of interpretation? To my knowledge, the book was not geared at being a Christian self help book. Nor did I get the idea while reading that she was claiming to be the truth. We know that only comes from the lord through scripture. as she states multiple times that authors write what they know. I don’t think she is claiming that her book is truth, but her perspective. She seems to be very vulnerable in who she is and what she struggles with as a follower. mostly, I do not see anything in your article to back up how her book claims you lie #5 that sin is not the problem. great article to make you think, but I believe that’s the same statement I could say about “girl wash your face” as it was not meant to be ultimate truth.
9/4/2018 10:45:30 am
Her book was published by an incredibly well known Christian Publisher. I think its fair to say most would pick this book assuming and expecting it so have some meat to it, but as others have said, falls short.
Usually if I see a picture of the author’s face on the cover of the book, I know it’s not going to be meaty... It’s unfortunately true. Also, I must say, a lot of the “best selling” books written by females in the “Christian book section” often lack a lot of meat and sound theology and mostly contain a lot of fluff. My observation. I really wish more Christian women would tackle tough subjects and topics PACKED full of theologically sound doctrine and scripture rather than the typical “cheerleader” book that tells you to “keep going” and “love yourself”. I want the women to keep up with the men who are writing tons of books on theology and biblical topics. Maybe Alisa should write a book ;))) I’m excited to see the chapters she writes on Mama Bear Apologetics!
9/4/2018 09:59:38 am
THANK YOU!!! I’ve spent the weeks since reading this wanting to scream from the mountaintops these things but did not want to offend those that loved the book. BUT IT IS OFFENSIVE. Bravo. You are loved from my head to my toes for speaking the truth. This book should shake every woman of God to our core.
9/5/2018 12:27:58 am
YESSSSSSS! Same!!! You wrote my comment for me. I literally started feeling sick listening to this book. I'm so relieved I'm not the only one. I don't fancy myself any better of a Christian having had convictions against this book, but I'm certainly thankful the truth is buried within me and by grace is revealed when challenged.
9/4/2018 10:28:59 am
Okay I will just take it point by point
9/4/2018 11:22:38 am
That was my take on it as well, Becky. I did not go into reading this book thinking that it was a devotional or even a Christian book. But, I do think that she touched on MANY points that so many women, Christian women in particular, seem to have a hard time with.
9/4/2018 03:37:49 pm
Absolutely agree Becky!!! I’m sad to say that this post is exactly the kind of thing that’s turns people away from Christianity. It’s absolutely ripping apart a book that was written with good intentions by a woman that hopes to relate with real women on real struggles showing there is always another side to those struggles and you can and will get through them.
9/5/2018 08:24:39 am
My thoughts exactly, this comes across to me as the very "holier than thou" type of Christianity that is so quick to turn people off of pursuing Christ
9/4/2018 03:46:40 pm
Becky, these were my thoughts exactly. Thank you for pointing out that context is very important. It saddens me to see women put another woman down when they have no understanding where she is coming from.
9/4/2018 11:34:47 pm
Becky, my thoughts exactly. Holly, you took the words right from my mouth. So saddened to see a book ripped apart, as you said, when this woman most definitely had good intentions. That is a Christian to me. Not ripping someone else’s work who is trying to reach other women and want the best for them, obviously by reminding us to love ourselves. We simply cannot pour from an empty cup and she is showing us just that.
9/4/2018 09:00:20 pm
100% agree Becky, ESPECIALLY with #4!
9/4/2018 09:29:55 pm
Thanks for writing your response this way. I totally agree. Well said!
9/4/2018 11:10:46 am
I recently spent time with human trafficking survivors in India. One of the girls was new to the program and was so traumatized, she couldn't even speak. She had scrapes up and down her arms and her head was freshly shaven due to a horrendous lice infestation. It was heart wrenching to take in.
9/4/2018 10:43:07 pm
Thanks for taking the time to give us such a poignant example of grace. I am saving part of your comment as a quote: ."...I saw the work and the rescue of Jesus Christ, NOT self love." Excellent! Amen.
Nicole Marie Howe
9/4/2018 11:02:17 pm
Thank you, Gina! I am so grateful to have had the experience. It has forever changed how I see the Gospel. Blessings to you <3
9/4/2018 11:25:26 am
As an older Christian, I was in deep mourning that so many of our wonderful young moms in the Church can't get enough of this book. The author is wonderful I am sure, successful, funny and talented, but the sadness in my spirit is still the same. Have we so failed the younger moms that they need this to feel good about themselves? .Accepting everything and everyone and every action and every lifestyle presents another JESUS than the One who created the universe and desires to have tender fellowship with us. This is a "Hot Potato" Topic for sure
9/4/2018 12:51:39 pm
Yes we have 100% failed them and they do need this book to let them know they are not alone and that it is possible to fix the way we think and talk about ourselves!
9/5/2018 08:02:59 am
Did you even read the book?
9/4/2018 01:11:59 pm
I bought the book have listened to some of it. But i wont be listening to the rest. I feel bad for her for her family past. But if your really gonna follow Jesus. You cant make up your own rules. I dont agree with the things she says.
9/4/2018 03:16:37 pm
I downloaded this book from Audible and within 15 min I got this feeling deep in the pit of my stomach that something wasn't right about it. I Googled how to return a book on Audible and did just that.
9/4/2018 03:20:53 pm
This is literally the best book I have ever read. Every single chapter resonated with me on a deep level – even the chapters on motherhood and I am not yet a mom.
9/4/2018 09:04:25 pm
Katherine, you wrote "Gods helps those who help themselves." Was this a typo, or did you intend to pluralize God?
9/5/2018 09:10:48 am
What kind of joke quote is that? God does not help people who
9/4/2018 03:53:14 pm
This may seem like a strange connection, but bear with me....As I have been reading John, I am struck by how many times Jesus says he does not come to testify about himself, but show who the Father is. At one point he tells men (those who don't accept Him) there will come one who testifies in his own name and "you will receive him." I see it as Jesus referring to an "anti-christ" that comes claiming he is "I AM." Your evaluation of this self-love/self praise/self glorification movement is very similar to an anti-Christ spirit that claims "I AM" great. I believe this message of self exaltation will lead many away from their need for Jesus as their perfect covering and security in whom they should completely trust. Your evaluation is desperately needed by so many women who would never know the difference, since discernment is not taught or appreciated as it should be. Thank you for your post.
9/5/2018 03:24:18 pm
I agree. I feel like we can see the spirit of the Antichrist taking shape before our eyes and it's becoming easier to see how he will deceive the whole world with his message, as it's a message that the world loves - it denies the truth of who Jesus is and exhalts self.
9/4/2018 04:51:52 pm
please consider sharing your insights with the publishing house. Perhaps they didn't review this book well enough before publishing it.
9/5/2018 12:10:33 am
Sadly, I'm sure they knew exactly what they were publishing. I used to be a blogger reviewer for them and I quit some years back because I kept finding myself heartsick reading books chock full of twisted scriptures and theology that was "holey" rather than "holy."
9/4/2018 05:50:15 pm
I assume that this is by design, but I do not like that I am unable to respond to the author's response to my comment. Anyhow. this is obviously not a blog I will be visiting again, since it is not in alignment with my Christian views. I just have to say before I leave, that the writer of this blog clearly knows nothing of Rachel Hollis's heart. She missed the entire point of the book, and that is sad.
9/4/2018 06:23:45 pm
Michele, all the comments are open so I'm not sure why you weren't able to respond to mine. Thanks for your thoughts.
9/4/2018 06:31:04 pm
I have been sharing similar sentiments with my friends about this book. I’m glad you put it so eloquently. I do think it is an important read though, because this is what is speaking to young women and we need to get them from the selfie to the cross and this book can be a bridge to get there. Thank you for publishing this. It’s important to pay attention before we get caught up in the mirror.
9/4/2018 07:57:57 pm
I used to just Love Rachel! After reading her book, Party Girl, I started following her all over social media. The 3rd book in the Party Girl series (Smart Girl) disappointed me cause of what the 2 main characters do throughout the book and their “love” story which is really more like an abisive relationship....but, I just wrote it off and continued being glued to all things Rachel Hollis. Then she supported CoverGirls first Cover boy, heralding how amazing it And forward thinking this was. I couldn’t believe this coming from someone who is a Christian. God’s word states He made us male and female...the end, not transgender or cross gender or anything else. Then Rachel’s support for Hillary Clinton...I could no longer follow her. I am not looking down on her, we all have choices to make but as a Christian I feel that we should be bearing His fruit. People should know who we are without asking
Thank you. As I have watched many woman cling to this book almost as their new bible, their new personal truth my heart was in turmoil. It is a lie. Yes some good nuggets sure but that doesn't make it all good. We as humans are in need of a savior. Anything that tells us that we are that savior is wrong, it is lie from the enemy. We have a savior. I love this quote by Ann Voskamp "When we need radical change we need only to look at the radical exchange that has happened at the cross" and I see many woman and men searching for something to "work" in our lives. But that work has already been done. By faith we are saved, and we gain so much position-ally through Christ and conditionally too! So I just wanted to comment and say thank you. I appreciated your post. Here is some encouragement to keep speaking truth, to keep being the light in humble and loving ways.
9/4/2018 09:07:21 pm
I honestly have steered clear of this book, solely based on who I've seen applauding it on facebook. My thought process has been, "If SHE thinks it's the best thing ever, it's probably not for me." These are the same friends who posted all over about Twilight and 50 Shades of Grey when they were so popular. I hate to see watery theology pushed forth as truth. It just breaks my heart.
9/4/2018 09:15:30 pm
First let me start by saying I haven't read this book, so context may be somewhat off here. Please correct my misunderstanding if necessary...
9/4/2018 09:27:57 pm
Hi Christina, thanks for your comment. I agree that we need to take care of ourselves. . .I tried to convey that in the post, but it's tough to fit everything in under 2,000 words. :) You're right, she doesn't teach a Christ-centered rest and self-care, and that's what I was addressing in the post. Welcome to the blog!
9/4/2018 09:24:28 pm
I think everyone should decide for themselves whether to read the book or not and get what they need out of it.
9/4/2018 10:21:18 pm
Hi Jenny, thanks for your comment. The Bible actually commands us to "tear down arguments and every presumption that raises itself against the knowledge of God." It commands us to call out false doctrine, expose works of darkness, test every spirit, and not be deceived empty words.
9/4/2018 09:39:52 pm
Yes! I thought I was the only one around who felt this way because everyone is reading and it has so much false theology. Read as a self-help book with some great things for mental toughness but leave God out of it. I had to quit following her Instagram because of the false message that are not biblical and people are buying it as “truth”. Was I the only one that was confused on her having no problem with the premarital sex when she was talking about her relationship with her boyfriend now husband. What she pointed out was that he treated her badly and we deserve to be treated better as women. I love self help books and bettering yourself. But I am tired of Christian speakers and writers living on a gray line and teaching things that are not biblical.
9/4/2018 10:52:11 pm
Thank you for having the bold courage to right this article.
9/4/2018 11:18:03 pm
You know what I find interesting about your post here? That everything you wrote points to the gospel. You took a book that is essentially written from the world’s perspective (because let’s be honest, none of those thoughts in the book are originally hers but instead just the general North American thoughts) and in refuting it you gave hope and life in the only true form: Jesus! I’ve never heard of the author but even so I’ve heard all these lies and too often by those who profess to be christians!
9/4/2018 11:28:46 pm
Thank you for this warning! I had read great reviews from friends on Facebook and downloaded the book on Audible. I had planned to listen to it on my solo road trip this weekend. I have reached a goal that sucked all the energy out of everything else in my life and plan to start afresh after it's completion Saturday. I did not realize this was intended to be a "Christian" book, thought it was more motivational and what I was needing to jumpstart this new phase of my life. I will still probably listen to it, if nothing more than to be able to refute it, but I will also definitely be on the lookout for the underlying message that Satan has so brilliantly interwoven and packaged as popular, modern day Christian living.
9/5/2018 08:17:27 am
Many valid points Alisa. What disappoints me is that by the many responses I read, many women said, “oh I’m so glad for your opinion, now I know not to read it.”
9/5/2018 08:30:00 am
Hi Kate, thanks for your comment. I hear your heart and totally get where you're coming from. (And I appreciate the respectful way you said it!) But there are times when the Bible commands us to divide over false doctrine. We are called to look at someone's life and doctrine, not simply their claim to be a Christian. Yes, God wants Christians to walk in unity, but only unity based on truth. The Jesus that Hollis writes about is not the Jesus we find in Scripture. Here are my thoughts on these ideas expanded a bit if you're interested:
9/5/2018 08:17:44 am
It's written as a self help book, not a devotional (you even acknowledged that). So the fact that it has actionable steps that YOU can take here on Earth doesn't make it a false doctrine. Knowing your identity in Christ is absolutely important, however that's not the only thing that goes into living your life. You still have to take actionable steps to get where you want to be and to continue to better yourself which is what this book is about. We are flawed by nature, this book is about striving to better yourself. It was not written as a how to guide for Christianity.
9/5/2018 08:40:36 am
YES. I am here on earth to bring glory to Christ and accomplish what HE wants for me, not to be all about myself. Your article is Biblically right on point. Thank you for writing this!!
9/5/2018 09:27:30 am
This is ridiculous & completely out of context. I love this book & it does not make me any less of a faith filled Christian Sister for it. I feel like this post & those sharing it are being judgmental, hurtful, it's completely unnecessary.
9/5/2018 11:19:48 am
Alisa is very gracious in her evaluation, and discernment is a form of judging. All Christians are to be discerning.
YES. This is my issue too, this article is taking quotes from the book completely out of context. Her "put yourself first" bit in the book is about health because her all-work all-the-time attitude was hurting her (physically).
9/5/2018 10:15:12 am
Acts 17:10–12 (ESV): The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. Many of them therefore believed, with not a few Greek women of high standing as well as men.
9/5/2018 10:52:20 am
Someone I truly admire mentioned that 'a popular book that was taking the world by storm' might sound good but unless you know the truth, you won't realize all that's wrong with it. That said, I assumed this is what she meant and a quick flip through in a store and I saw a ton glaring at me from the pages that frightened me. HOWEVER, I also believe that God can take a partial truth to spark a deeper interest in who He is that ultimately leads to a profoundly transforming relationship with Him. I don't agree with her approach, or theology, but if God can still use it for good, then I can't completely wish it away either. I mean if He can use the OT horrible kings to get people to turn back to Him, I think this book is within His area of expertise as well. But I will cringe if I hear someone quote at as truth. It's just gross.
9/5/2018 11:14:37 am
Thank you for your blog post on this book. I’m currently looking for a Bible Study for a small group of ladies if you have any recommendations. Thank you for your blog on this book there is a lot of hype right now on the book and I’m currently looking for a Bible Study for a small group if you have any recommendations.
9/5/2018 11:27:27 am
Love others as you LOVE YOURSELF. LOVE YOURSELF includes self love/self care. Would Jesus really want us to just sit around and tear ourselves down or treat ourselves badly, or would he want us to take care of and be nice to the body/person he's given us?
9/5/2018 11:42:43 am
What is a fundamentalist Christian? As compared to ? This confuses me.. :/
9/5/2018 12:23:48 pm
great, great post! i'm so sad when i see these young women who are so gifted in writing and gathering many followers, but whose "christian" message is so NOT Biblical. makes me very sad. glad i found your blog. love it:)
9/5/2018 12:24:02 pm
First off, I had heard of this book but didn't know much about it so I appreciate the review! I've been very hesitant about Christian books the past few years because of weak theology, etc.
9/5/2018 01:57:06 pm
I don’t even know where to begin. There are so many conflicting voices in the world today. Anyone with a smartphone and a social media account can step up to a virtual soapbox anytime these please. I’m super grateful for the opportunity to be heard but sometimes I wish the whole system would implode.
I think you need more context so that people who haven't read the book actually know the truth behind the statements of hers you're quoting.
9/5/2018 08:39:08 pm
Hi Teresa, thanks for your comment, but I have to disagree. She is all over the "put yourself first" concept from chapter one. She doesn't talk about the physical aspects (facial paralysis) until chapter three. She even says that one of the "lies" she used to believe is "I'm not good enough."
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