Yesterday I came across a video on Instagram.
Rachel Hollis is a famed inspirational speaker and author, encouraging women to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and relentlessly run after their dreams. Not a bad message at all, right? I was a bit late to the Rachel Hollis party, slightly weary of her cult-like following, but still read her best selling book, “Girl, Wash Your Face” back at the beginning of the year. For me, there were a few quotable lines, but nothing earth-shattering that I hadn’t heard in one way, shape, or form at some point before. What it sounded more like to me, were unoriginal ideas that were gaining new life from the “mompreneur,” “side hustle,” “be your best self,” “live your best life” trend, and riding on the coattails of those individuals with more unique messages. I could understand why some women could relate to her or would look up to her because of her no-nonsense approach, but I did NOT get the obsession with her and every single thing she did and said. And there was something about her that just rubbed me the wrong way. Something that bothered me. Like she was trying SO HARD to be “authentic” that it was actually inauthentic. No big deal, I was just probably not going to be a big fan. Didn’t need to read her next book, no big deal.
But then I saw a video of her yesterday. It was on her husband’s Instagram account, though I saw it through the stories of another person I follow (I unfollowed Rachel after I read her book). They have since taken it down (though I do still have a short clip of it), but here’s what Rachel had to say recently at a conference appearance (and not just a little break off session or a small presentation, I mean appearance as in some sort of a featured keynote):
“When we get to the end of our lives, God is going to introduce us to the person we could have been.
To the person we could have been if we had lived into our potential, believed in ourselves, and used our God-given abilities to make change and do something in the world.
Heaven is when you meet that person and they are the same person.”
WHOA. So, that was NOT my impression of how things would go. And I was pretty shocked to read this from a Christian woman of great influence.
It makes me sad, and angry, to be honest, to know that someone like Rachel Hollis, with her large platform and vast reach, chooses to use a false gospel to push her message and manipulate her followers. It makes me sad for the women that look to her for inspiration, that may or may not be Christians yet, who will hear a very, VERY different version of God’s acceptance and love in those words than the one I know.
The God I know, and have learned about, and pray to will greet me with love, open arms, and full acceptance when I arrive into heaven, not with judgment and disappointment. The God I know will not shame me for not measuring up or coming up short in his expectations of me. The God I know will not compare me with what I could have been or ought to be.
Because I am simply enough just as I am, in the eyes of my God. I don’t have to hustle non-stop, or throw every ounce of energy into reaching my goals, or never give up, or keep every promise to myself, or throw the perfect party, or lead a successful business, or do anything at all. I asked Jesus into my heart years ago, and that is enough for MY God. My successes and failures, the grand things I may or may not achieve in this world do not matter to Him.
And thank goodness! Don’t we put enough pressure on ourselves and criticize ourselves and shame ourselves when we don’t live up to the expectations we give ourselves? Don’t we get frustrated and disappointed when we fail and when we are tired and when we let ourselves and others down? Don’t we feel like we’re not good enough already? Not accepted enough? Not successful enough? And I can’t even begin to imagine how devastating it would be to believe that God thinks those things too. That He had a wonderful plan for me that I bungled. That He called me to do these amazing things but I just couldn’t quiiiiite come through as well as he was hoping. That He would then point it out to me and show me what He wanted me to be and compare me to who I could have been if I had just “hustled” a little bit harder, pushed a little bit further, instead of loving and accepting and welcoming me just as I am.
The fact that that is what Rachel is asserting here is disgusting to me.
One of the greatest comforts in my life, and one true and honest thing I can eternally rely on is that those things simply don’t matter to God. We are perfect, and whole, and complete, and loved, and accepted, simply as we are. I have nothing to achieve or win or prove that makes me more worthy to Him or more loved by Him. I try every day, more and more, to lead my life in a manner that is pleasing to God. IT IS HARD. It is hard because I am an imperfect creature, and I sin, and I fail and fall short on a daily basis. Multiple times on a daily basis. But I still get up every morning and try. And you know what the good news is? God loves me despite these repeated failures and all those imperfections. But also? He is not an “I told you so” kind of God. He forgives all those failures and forgets them! His grace is pure and ungrudging and unceasing. And saying otherwise, honestly, is unbiblical. And it’s irresponsible.
There is nothing that bothers me more than when people use religion to selfishly benefit themselves. But taking it a step further, she is speaking blatant untruths about God to push people toward a goal that her message endorses. Keep working hard and never give up. Read my books and improve yourself. Attend my conference and better yourself. We don’t want to disappoint GOD!
My friends, work hard. Strive for better in your lives. Chase after your dreams, fight for them, dust yourselves off when you fall down, and then pull yourselves back up. But don’t think for a second that if you fail, or if you give up, or if you just get tired and decide it’s not worth it, or if you choose to not follow your dreams, or if you are scared, that God is going to remind you of it and shame you for it when the day finally comes that you meet face to face. Do it for yourselves, for your families, for Jesus- but don’t do it out of fear. Don’t do it because Rachel Hollis is telling you that God is gonna call you out. Don’t let her fool you.
Aside from the disturbing message Rachel was “preaching,” this video made me realize that we need to truly take a good, long look at who we’re listening to, what they are saying, and what we are doing with that information. Are we reading self-help books instead of our Bibles? Are we hanging on every word of celebrities instead of theologians? Are we filling our heads and hearts with selfish lies instead of biblical truths? Are we out to serve ourselves or are we out to serve our Lord?
I don’t need to be told to wash my face, y’all, and I bet you don’t either. But I DO need to be reminded to read my Bible.
Regardless of any great effort or lack thereof in pursuing my dreams, I hold onto the truth that God loves me, accepts me, and will embrace me when I meet him in heaven. And despite what any influencer trying to push her brand claims, he accepts me as is- failures, laziness, faults, disappointments and ALL, and will never shame me. And He will never shame you either.
Because that’s what the Bible says.
Because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” There is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who can call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And it is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray.
And check out @thegirlnamedblake and @lindsay.m.wilkins on Instagram, where I saw the video and heard the perspective for the first time yesterday. Great accounts to follow anyway, but they were dropping some major truth bombs yesterday that were brave and inspiring.