Dear Rachel Hollis,
Actually, dear Rachel Hollis followers:
You don’t know me and that’s okay. I likely don’t know you either. I am not here to pass judgments or criticism. I want to be careful with the way I may or may not offer criticism online. I’m not out to make enemies, I’m out to make friends.
Consider this post a polite exhortation, or maybe an encouragement to think beyond the self-help mantra.
I follow Rachel Hollis on social media and believe me she says a lot of inspiring, encouraging, and motivating things that do get me thinking and doing. I have not read her book so when I mean to take this post with a grain of salt I MEAN IT. I really am not in a position to offer a well-rounded or thorough review or critique.
However, I DO feel compelled to take the popular phrases I hear and test them against my Christian worldview?
What do I mean by that?
I mean take a phrase at a time and see how the underlying beliefs about the world coincide with the underlying beliefs about the world according to a Christian who believes in the Bible. I hope that makes sense.
In other words, what does this phrase teach me about myself or about God or about the world? That’s worldview. A Christian worldview is a worldview based on what is found in the Bible. So with that clear let’s move forward!
I’m bringing this up because it has been something that I have needed to do for myself. I hear a lot of self-help mantra and if I don’t pause to really think about how it aligns with my worldview I am missing out on a key step that God wants us to take.
If you want to know more about the verse that says “take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” you can read this very helpful Ask Pastor John post here – this is more or less what I am talking about.
So regarding some of the popular phrases I’ve heard from Rachel Hollis. I’m going to pick 3 and dissect them a bit below. I’m dissecting them in a relaxed format that more or less is exactly how I think about them on my own. If I take the time to think, this is what and how I process. This isn’t a perfect step-by-step how to, just sharing my personal experience.
- If I wanted a better life it was up to me to create it.
You have the ability to change your life. You have the power to change, just you and your desire.
Biblically speaking, I think this is true. We have freedom in this life to make choices about our life. We choose to work hard and be wise with money and be good at investing in relationships and have a better life. What is a better life though? How does one measure a better life? This probably varies from person to person and culture to culture. Does the Bible have anything to say about us “living a better life”?
The Bible actually talks a lot about how the Christian life is not the easy life, it’s going to be hard. We will be rejected and persecuted by people who hate God, we will be called to make many sacrifices for the Lord throughout our lifetime. Is this a “better life”? What is better about our life is that we have the Joy of the Lord in us, we have assurance of salvation, we have unity and fellowship with a Holy God through Jesus Christ. What could be better than that?
It IS about what we desire. What do we desire more? To have a stable job and make lots of money so we can live comfortably or do we desire to go to the ends of earth and share the gospel with others, to sometimes sacrifice stability or money for the sake of the Gospel? Is that what we desire?
On the other hand, my better life is not up to me to create. God is the one in control of all things. Even while I have my earthly freedom to choose coffee or tea or apply for this job or that God is ultimately in control of all things. So it’s not really up to me in the long run, He’s the one with ultimate authority over my life.
Stuff to think about!
- Nobody will ever care about your dream as much as you do. You have to decide to pursue your wildest dreams.
If my dream is to have a successful blog and make money from my home then this is true (in a sense), no other human being will care as much about that as I do. If my dream is to live my God-given calling to the fullest and follow godly instruction with the help of His Holy Spirit for my whole life? God cares about that dream more. If having a blog is part of God’s dream for me to fulfill my calling that He placed on my life then He cares more about it than I do. Whatever happens to your dreams (whether they are ever fulfilled or not, whether they are selfish dreams or God-centered dreams or both) I can guarantee that God cares more about all things than you do. You don’t even have the capacity to care about anything to the level that God can. We need to feel the truth that God is big and we are small. When you go after your dreams, whatever they are, do you feel that?
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:6-8
I start to feel a lot more at ease about my dreams when I meditate on these truths. If it’s solely up to me to care perfectly and 100% of the time I will fail. God, however, will never fail at caring.
- Take control of what happens next.
This is a lot like the one above. Our control is limited. We do not control natural disasters, or the weather, or accidents, or tragedies. Do we control what we wear, what line of work we go into, who we marry? We may try to control certain things about our lives, and we may have some level of control about most things, but many times we cannot control the majority of things. I think this is a great time to give another plug for a helpful resource on The Sovereignty of God. This topic can be difficult to wrap our heads around – I know it can be for me at times. So when it comes to the daily stuff, the moments that come when I can choose do either be productive or relax, to invest in a relationship or to have alone time I should always ask myself if I remember that God is sovereign. Do the choices I make reflect the Maker of my life? If not, what do they reflect? How can I be mindful of staying in God’s will and also relinquish control of my life? How can I go ahead and make choices based on faith and still give credit to the One who is above all things?
I hope this post helped you think. A lot of the time all I need to do is ask myself a few deep questions to get my mind and my heart in the right place. I cannot conquer all of my dreams. I cannot go pursue whatever I want whenever I want. I have to weigh the costs and benefits. I need to always be aware of where my heart is. I need to remember where God has placed me and what I already know I am called to do. I may need to sacrifice my dreams sometimes, and that can be a GOOD thing. If we put our dreams above everything else we might end up sacrificing the wrong things and be lead further away from God. I don’t want that and I hope you don’t want that either.
So, Rachel Hollis, you have a lot of great life advice to share and I appreciate all the hard work you do, how you inspire other women, how you connect other women and are building bridges. You’ve done a lot of good and I am not discounting that at all. However, your advice is not my gospel and while the things you say and write about can be helpful I don’t want to forget that there is already a book written by a Holy God with everything I need already in it. Peace.