Girl, Follow Jesus

Hollis’s message this time around is, “All that really matters is how bad you want those dreams and what you’re willing to do to make them happen.”

In her latest book, Girl, Stop Apologizing: A Shame-Free Plan for Embracing and Achieving Your Goals, Hollis has gained momentum. She wants you to believe in yourself, to take great pride in your hard work and accomplishments, and to do so without shame and with gusto. She wants you to go hard and unapologetically after your dreams.

 

There’s a woman in your church who is a #1 New York Times bestselling author, founder and CEO of her own media company, business podcaster, sought-after motivational speaker, lifestyle-website producer, and global influencer.

Not only that, but she also looks and sounds like she could be your best friend next door. Her transparent style—sharing messy, real-life stories—and her proven tips for success have garnered her more than a million followers on social media.

As a professing Christian, you better believe that Rachel Hollis has forged meaningful relationships with the women in your pews. Her first self-help book, Girl, Wash Your Face (read TGC’s review), debuted last year and has been ranked #1 in Personal Growth and Christianity, as well as Women’s Christian Living, on Amazon for months and months.

In her latest book, Girl, Stop Apologizing: A Shame-Free Plan for Embracing and Achieving Your Goals, Hollis has gained momentum. She wants you to believe in yourself, to take great pride in your hard work and accomplishments, and to do so without shame and with gusto. She wants you to go hard and unapologetically after your dreams.

Hollis’s message this time around is, “All that really matters is how bad you want those dreams and what you’re willing to do to make them happen” (83).

For a woman who claims Christ, I’m afraid this is in direct opposition to his words:

If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? (Luke 9:23–25)

Jesus Says Deny Yourself. Hollis Says Believe in Yourself.

In this fallen world, all women are tempted to believe their lives are mediocre and disappointing. Hearing someone cheer, “You were made for more!” (xxii) is enticing. Women will be charging forward after hearing that all they need to reach their dreams is within themselves. They’ll be looking at Hollis—who built her empire with only a high-school diploma and a ton of energy and persistence—as the proof in the pudding.

For Hollis, salvation is found in ourselves:

The real you is destined for something more . . . your version of more. This is who you were made to be, and the first step to making that vision a reality is to stop apologizing for having the dream in the first place. Like Lady Gaga says, baby, you were born this way . . . it’s time to become who you were made to be. (209)

To get there, Hollis says: “First learn to love yourself well and give yourself credit; then reach for more” (62) She encourages readers to pick 10 goals, write them out every day, and meditate on the future vision we have of ourselves in order to get our subconscious involved. An example of one of her goals is, “I only fly first class” (101).

These practices are a far cry from self-denial. They are full-on faith in self.

And this faith in self only makes sense for a certain population in a certain context. How many people across history and across the globe can “believe you’re capable of making changes to become whatever kind of person you want to be” (18)? It’s a cruel joke to say to the disabled, to the poor, to the oppressed, “you’ve got to decide right now that you can be whoever you want to be and achieve whatever you want to achieve” (18). While that may be true for Hollis—a white woman in 21st century California—it’s not realistic advice for much of the world. Jesus promises rest, an easy yoke, and a light burden to the weary (Matt. 11:30), but Hollis’s message of self-determination is condemnation.

Jesus Says Take Up Your Cross Daily. Hollis Wonders If You’ve Got Time for That.

Hollis asks, “Is your schedule populated by things that will make your life better, or is it dictated by everybody else’s wants and needs?” (25). She reasons, “Being occasionally inconvenienced is a part of life, and if you’re willing to [serve others], then you better be willing to demand that they do it for you” (140).

On staying home with her kids, Hollis says:

It’s not my spiritual gifting. It’s not in my wheelhouse. You know what is in my wheelhouse? Building a successful business, managing a team, writing books, giving keynote speeches, crushing it on social media, strategizing, branding, PR, and planning live events where a thousand women fly in from all over the world to be inspired. (80)

Lest you think I’m passing judgment on Hollis for being a working mom, I assure you that I’m not. I’ve been a working mom for all of my children’s days. But taking up your cross, sacrificially serving others, and staying home with hard, messy, needy children who don’t say thank you isn’t in anyone’s wheelhouse. I fear Hollis’s instructions will be happily heeded and lead to the emboldened absence of wives, moms, daughters, sisters, and friends who enjoy pursuing their dreams more than loving the least of these.

Read More