Rachel Hollis Didn't Get It Wrong
Rachel Hollis has taken a pretty good lashing in the Christian community for her book Girl, Wash Your Face. I’ve read the criticism, then I read the book. A few things you need to know about me as we get started. I’m highly self-motivated. At 14 years old I decided I wanted to be valedictorian of my graduating class so I could give a speech at graduation . . . 4 years away. I missed my goal by a hundredth of a point or so. I was awarded salutatorian and still was invited to speak at our high school graduation.
I’m all-in for a motivational speaker, book, podcast, you name it. I regularly listen to podcasts that interview highly successful people about how they made it to where they are. I love that stuff. I grew up with parents who taught me I could do just about anything I set out to do.
Rachel writes in her introduction, “It’s worth asking, right here, right up front, where faith plays a role in all of this. As a Christian I grew up learning that God was in control, that God had a plan for my life, and I believe in the marrow of my bones that this is true. I believe God loves each of us unconditionally, but I don’t think that means we get to squander the gifts and talents he’s given us simply because we’re good enough already.”
And I agree.
The rest of her book discusses twenty lies she believed about herself and how she pulled herself up to overcome those things. She offers the real, actionable steps she took which might work for other women or might be a stepping stone to finding something else that works for them.
Does she reference God in every single point? No. Did she admit some mistakes and sins in her past? Yes. Neither of these points cause any problems for me in this book.
The truth she speaks is God does have a plan for our lives. We absolutely should pray for God’s direction in our lives and His blessing on any endeavor we undertake. But we can’t expect to ask God to help us lose weight while we eat chocolate chip cookies and binge watch Netflix every day. We’re going to have to do some of the work. Will He love us if we don’t? Yes. But we will have wasted our time and talent and not cared for the body God gave us.
Shouldn’t we focus on service for others rather than focus on what we want? Yes. I don’t understand why God calls some of us to give up houses and family to serve Him and others He allows to climb to positions of power and wealth. Maybe one day we can ask Him.
Rachel mentions her goals to own a vacation home in Hawaii and to be on the front cover of a specific business magazine a couple of times. Those are admittedly selfish ambitions. My goals aren’t quite that lofty but some of them reek of selfishness as well. Does it mean I shouldn’t work toward those goals? If I’ve prayed about them, handed them over to God, they don’t go against anything in His Word and He’s given me peace about it, I don’t see why not.
Maybe you disagree. That’s okay. I still you love you anyway. Especially since three out of the five people who read this are my mom and my sisters.
Maybe your goals are more mission minded. They are still goals and they still require you to believe enough in yourself and to have enough faith in God to do something about them. Rachel’s encouragement is just as valid for your goals as for her own.
I didn’t pull any great theological nuggets of wisdom from her book. It wasn’t meant to impart that kind of information. What I did get was a friend telling me when I’m done crying and moaning about how things aren’t the way I want them to be, I should wash my face, get up and move on.
If you need a friend to put her arm around you and give you the same pep talk, Girl Wash Your Face is the summer read you’ve been looking for.