Summer Reviews “Girl, Wash Your Face” (Part 2)

Sep 6, 2018 | Article | 10 comments

Welcome Back!
Last weekend I explained why I’m taking on this endeavor, and today I am happy to report that I have now read through chapter seven, and before we move on, I want to be really up front with you.

There are certain things I believe about Jesus because the Bible says so; because the Bible says so, I believe they are not compromisable. I believe Jesus is supreme. I believe His wisdom is better than ours. I believe He is worthy of our worship. I believe that knowing Jesus is better than knowing anything in the world.

Ultimately, we all live according to what we believe. Unfortunately, sometimes what we say we believe does not align with how we live those things out. And this is how we got Rachel Hollis on the bestseller list.

Something Else Will Make Me Happy
“Something Else Will Make Me Happy” is the first “lie” Hollis attempts to tackle. And by that I mean she launches the book with two stories of wetting her pants, and a brief dissertation on why we should not believe she has a glamorous life despite her Oscar attendance, ultra-famous lifestyle blog, princess dresses, four uses of the word “glamorous” in as many paragraphs, and don’t forget the internet freak-outs over her glamness because she looks perfect in a well-lit ballroom. She actually takes a shot at Gwyneth Paltrow, who, in Hollis’s estimation, is actually glam when pretending not to be glam—unlike her, who is certainly not glam even when she looks glam. I’m not making this up. See pages 2 and 3.

This may sound like the most distasteful section of the chapter, but it’s not. The worst part is when she almost hits on a really big giant important truth, swings, and misses. She says,

“This is important, because I want you to understand, my sweet, precious friend, that we’re all falling short. Yet even though I fail over and over and over again, I don’t let it deter me. I still wake up every day and try again to become a better version of myself.”

A page later,

“This is your life. You are meant to be the hero of your own story. This doesn’t mean you become selfish. This doesn’t mean you discard your faith or quit believing in something greater than yourself.”

Oh, Rachel. She came so close to naming a life-giving truth, and then she falls flat on her face by giving in to Osteen-style fortune-cookie foolishness. When she says we are all falling short, the natural question to ask is, “Falling short of what?” And immediately we discover that for Rachel, the ultimate goal is to be the best version of herself. Her commitment is to herself. Her desire is to be her own life’s hero. When we are told in Scripture that we must become lesser so that Jesus can become greater, we aren’t making ourselves the hero of our own story. We are understanding that our life story should be about Jesus and what He has done in our lives, not what WE do in our lives. But that’s not Rachel’s message. And by chapter one, all of the women who have told me, “This is NOT a Christian book!” have been proven right.

Rachel concludes every chapter with several key ways that she defeated the lie being tackled. What is one way she says she defeats the lie that something else will make her happy? By surrounding herself with “positivity.” Which is funny because Paul discovered what it meant to be content while fearing for his life. While being shipwrecked, imprisoned. Scripture talks of contentedness and joy as things that do not flow from our outward circumstances, but from knowing God truly. In fact, Scripture is very clear that if you depend on your outward circumstances, you will NOT be happy.

She concludes that,

“You should spend more time doing things that feed your spirit: more long walks with your dog, less volunteering for that thing you feel obligated to do but actually hate.”

I do agree that we should feed our spirits, but Rachel’s idea of feeding the spirit here is the kind of moral, therapeutic, deistic advice that sounds nice but has no bearing on what your spirit actually needs. Sometimes we need to do the things we hate. And sometimes we need to stop hating the things we need to do. Our flesh is naturally inclined towards all kinds of sin that stifles spiritual growth. How about laziness? Laziness about prayer and reading the Word? Those activities actually feed your Spirit. You should do them, even when you don’t want to, not out of an obligation but a love for God. Walking your dog is great, but what if you’re walking your dog to get out of the house because you spent a day despising your obligations towards your children? Walking your dog to get out of a promise you made to someone? You’re feeding A spirit there, and it’s certainly not from God.

There is no message here of crucifying the flesh that so often makes us unhappy. Happiness is not wrapping ourselves in a shroud of comfort, positivity, and good vibes. In fact, many attempts to comfort ourselves in this way reveal a bondage to our own comfort. True joy is a life poured out for Jesus, but it is clear from this chapter that Rachel does not believe so.

Loving Him Is Enough For Me
I won’t take the time to share my thoughts on each chapter because there are twenty of them and ain’t nobody got time for that. However, I would be completely remiss not to touch on chapter five. Chapter five is the story about how Rachel and her husband met, fell into a sinful, toxic relationship, and ended up happily ever after.

Out of the seven chapters I have read so far, this is the one that I get the feeling women might have the hardest time seeing through because it is extremely emotional. Rachel admits she was a booty call, and coyly asks if a “good Christian girl” writing for a Christian publisher can admit she was deeply entangled in sexual sin…wait…I mean… “threw every ideal she’d ever believed right out the window.”

Ultimately, her then-“booty call”-now-husband uses her for his own physical and emotional satisfaction, she deals with it because she “loves” him, he throws her away, she eventually stands up for herself, and he changes his ways.

This is radioactive.

There is not one lick of discussion of sin or repentance in this chapter. There is no acknowledgement of the soul-crushing reality of sexual sin. You find out that her soul is crushed, but even in this we learn that Rachel had to save herself. That salvation did not come through a realization of the weight of their sin towards each other, but in her realization she had “no pride”.

No, sisters. No.

You do not need to stand up when you are in unrepentant sexual sin, you need to sit down and bow humbly before God. You are not “loving” a man who you give your body to in the hopes that you can keep his attention—you are idolizing him, and trading in your body for a quick, emotional high.

What makes the chapter more horribly sad is the fact that her concluding advice is that you should find “a sounding board.” She recommends you talk to those older and wiser than you, in the hopes that they might point out how unhealthy or healthy your relationships are. Yes! Yes! Yes! Obviously! But Rachel….that’s what the body of believers is for. We weren’t made to be lone-wolf Christians just trying to be our best selves. Look at who our “best selves” become! If you were a committed member to a local God-fearing church, yes! They would have corrected you! They would have loved you, and counseled you, and done everything they could to hold you accountable. Perhaps they would even love you enough to discipline that sin out of you!

Our brothers and sisters in the Lord are gifts to us. The older and wiser among us are gifts to us. This is not a suggestion. Christ’s church is to behave and engage with each other in a certain way, and if Rachel had been following the New Testament’s model of the Christian life, the harm that could have been prevented, and the care she could have received cannot be overstated.

Sister, you are not the hero in your own story. Get yourself in a local church.

Welcome Back!
Last weekend I explained why I’m taking on this endeavor, and today I am happy to report that I have now read through chapter seven, and before we move on, I want to be really up front with you.

There are certain things I believe about Jesus because the Bible says so; because the Bible says so, I believe they are not compromisable. I believe Jesus is supreme. I believe His wisdom is better than ours. I believe He is worthy of our worship. I believe that knowing Jesus is better than knowing anything in the world.

Ultimately, we all live according to what we believe. Unfortunately, sometimes what we say we believe does not align with how we live those things out. And this is how we got Rachel Hollis on the bestseller list.

Something Else Will Make Me Happy
“Something Else Will Make Me Happy” is the first “lie” Hollis attempts to tackle. And by that I mean she launches the book with two stories of wetting her pants, and a brief dissertation on why we should not believe she has a glamorous life despite her Oscar attendance, ultra-famous lifestyle blog, princess dresses, four uses of the word “glamorous” in as many paragraphs, and don’t forget the internet freak-outs over her glamness because she looks perfect in a well-lit ballroom. She actually takes a shot at Gwyneth Paltrow, who, in Hollis’s estimation, is actually glam when pretending not to be glam—unlike her, who is certainly not glam even when she looks glam. I’m not making this up. See pages 2 and 3.

This may sound like the most distasteful section of the chapter, but it’s not. The worst part is when she almost hits on a really big giant important truth, swings, and misses. She says,

“This is important, because I want you to understand, my sweet, precious friend, that we’re all falling short. Yet even though I fail over and over and over again, I don’t let it deter me. I still wake up every day and try again to become a better version of myself.”

A page later,

“This is your life. You are meant to be the hero of your own story. This doesn’t mean you become selfish. This doesn’t mean you discard your faith or quit believing in something greater than yourself.”

Oh, Rachel. She came so close to naming a life-giving truth, and then she falls flat on her face by giving in to Osteen-style fortune-cookie foolishness. When she says we are all falling short, the natural question to ask is, “Falling short of what?” And immediately we discover that for Rachel, the ultimate goal is to be the best version of herself. Her commitment is to herself. Her desire is to be her own life’s hero. When we are told in Scripture that we must become lesser so that Jesus can become greater, we aren’t making ourselves the hero of our own story. We are understanding that our life story should be about Jesus and what He has done in our lives, not what WE do in our lives. But that’s not Rachel’s message. And by chapter one, all of the women who have told me, “This is NOT a Christian book!” have been proven right.

Rachel concludes every chapter with several key ways that she defeated the lie being tackled. What is one way she says she defeats the lie that something else will make her happy? By surrounding herself with “positivity.” Which is funny because Paul discovered what it meant to be content while fearing for his life. While being shipwrecked, imprisoned. Scripture talks of contentedness and joy as things that do not flow from our outward circumstances, but from knowing God truly. In fact, Scripture is very clear that if you depend on your outward circumstances, you will NOT be happy.

She concludes that,

“You should spend more time doing things that feed your spirit: more long walks with your dog, less volunteering for that thing you feel obligated to do but actually hate.”

I do agree that we should feed our spirits, but Rachel’s idea of feeding the spirit here is the kind of moral, therapeutic, deistic advice that sounds nice but has no bearing on what your spirit actually needs. Sometimes we need to do the things we hate. And sometimes we need to stop hating the things we need to do. Our flesh is naturally inclined towards all kinds of sin that stifles spiritual growth. How about laziness? Laziness about prayer and reading the Word? Those activities actually feed your Spirit. You should do them, even when you don’t want to, not out of an obligation but a love for God. Walking your dog is great, but what if you’re walking your dog to get out of the house because you spent a day despising your obligations towards your children? Walking your dog to get out of a promise you made to someone? You’re feeding A spirit there, and it’s certainly not from God.

There is no message here of crucifying the flesh that so often makes us unhappy. Happiness is not wrapping ourselves in a shroud of comfort, positivity, and good vibes. In fact, many attempts to comfort ourselves in this way reveal a bondage to our own comfort. True joy is a life poured out for Jesus, but it is clear from this chapter that Rachel does not believe so.

Loving Him Is Enough For Me
I won’t take the time to share my thoughts on each chapter because there are twenty of them and ain’t nobody got time for that. However, I would be completely remiss not to touch on chapter five. Chapter five is the story about how Rachel and her husband met, fell into a sinful, toxic relationship, and ended up happily ever after.

Out of the seven chapters I have read so far, this is the one that I get the feeling women might have the hardest time seeing through because it is extremely emotional. Rachel admits she was a booty call, and coyly asks if a “good Christian girl” writing for a Christian publisher can admit she was deeply entangled in sexual sin…wait…I mean… “threw every ideal she’d ever believed right out the window.”

Ultimately, her then-“booty call”-now-husband uses her for his own physical and emotional satisfaction, she deals with it because she “loves” him, he throws her away, she eventually stands up for herself, and he changes his ways.

This is radioactive.

There is not one lick of discussion of sin or repentance in this chapter. There is no acknowledgement of the soul-crushing reality of sexual sin. You find out that her soul is crushed, but even in this we learn that Rachel had to save herself. That salvation did not come through a realization of the weight of their sin towards each other, but in her realization she had “no pride”.

No, sisters. No.

You do not need to stand up when you are in unrepentant sexual sin, you need to sit down and bow humbly before God. You are not “loving” a man who you give your body to in the hopes that you can keep his attention—you are idolizing him, and trading in your body for a quick, emotional high.

What makes the chapter more horribly sad is the fact that her concluding advice is that you should find “a sounding board.” She recommends you talk to those older and wiser than you, in the hopes that they might point out how unhealthy or healthy your relationships are. Yes! Yes! Yes! Obviously! But Rachel….that’s what the body of believers is for. We weren’t made to be lone-wolf Christians just trying to be our best selves. Look at who our “best selves” become! If you were a committed member to a local God-fearing church, yes! They would have corrected you! They would have loved you, and counseled you, and done everything they could to hold you accountable. Perhaps they would even love you enough to discipline that sin out of you!

Our brothers and sisters in the Lord are gifts to us. The older and wiser among us are gifts to us. This is not a suggestion. Christ’s church is to behave and engage with each other in a certain way, and if Rachel had been following the New Testament’s model of the Christian life, the harm that could have been prevented, and the care she could have received cannot be overstated.

Sister, you are not the hero in your own story. Get yourself in a local church.

SUMMER JAEGER

Summer Jaeger is the wife to one excellent man and a homeschooling mother of four. When she is not blogging or podcasting, she is perfecting the art of the slow-cooked meal and wishing she was taking long-ish walks on the beach.

@SummrWrites Facebook sheologiansblog@gmail.com

10 Comments

  1. Debbie Loveless

    Wow! Just wow! I have not read the book it looked like a “self help “ book to me, and was waiting on a review from someone that would tell it like it is! Thanks!

    Reply
  2. Heather

    Love this! Thank you. These books that are written to the moder femal Christian seem to do nothing, but steal our joy. We need to put these books down and open our Bible. Being enveloped in the Word will bring forth an undescrible joy… that’s not to say every moment will be happy and good, but since I have put these books down and studied the Word it has been well with my soul. God is so very good.

    Reply
  3. michael coughlin

    Thanks for doing this. We need people to sacrifice for others and read garbage like this so they can help the rest of the Body.

    Reply
  4. Kim

    Awesome review and counter Biblically sound opinion! You’ve brought so many things back into perspective. I was reminded how nice all that positive stuff sounds but it doesn’t work! Praise God for your time and work sister!

    Reply
  5. Micah

    YES YES YES!!!! A Christian HIGHLY recommended the book on FB so I decided to give it a try. I had all the same reactions at you. I was sickened by her relationship with her husband and I hate to say – it’s only going to get worse. I finally stopped at about the next to last chapter. I just couldn’t finish it. Thank you for this honest review, comparing it against God’s standards!!

    Reply
  6. Avril

    Thank you for the gospel truth in this review! One part in particular cut me to the quick: “Walking your dog is great, but what if you’re walking your dog to get out of the house because you spent the day despising your obligations towards your children?” It is so easy to get caught in the self-empowerment trap as a mother and believe the lie that these darn needy kids are keeping me from living my “best life” and becoming the “best version of myself” when, on the contrary, they are actually God’s vehicle for those very things, and it is a blessing to be able to minister to their needs. I feel sad for a generation of young women who, in the quest for self-actualization, are missing out on so much more.

    Reply
    • DiAndrea

      Yes Yes Yes! That just smacked me in the face!

      Reply
  7. MJ

    Really glad to find this review – so many friends picking up the book right now. Have to assume it will make its way around the book club circuit very soon. Thank you for reading it and countering the arguments within.

    Reply
  8. Bex

    Loved your take on this. It’s very needed. I listened to the inerrancy podcast today and heard you mention sending book recs. Do you like to only cover books written by women or can I send in a request of a book by a guy as well?

    I’ve seen a lot of people talking about Bob Goff’s books and he is pretty much constantly at the top of the bestsellers pile on Amazon and always prominently displayed in the local Lifeway.

    I’ve never read him but I came close and I know before I became reformed the circles I was in really liked him.

    Thanks again for your review and for helping someone like me who has in the past been really lame at discernment!!

    Reply
  9. Ken McLain

    Hey thanks for the post – I have a friend at work that found this book and loves it and is literally trying to remake her life by its principles. I could tell from talking to her that it had problems. She is not in any way a believer, but she is having some crisis points in her life and this filling her need to take control. Is there a Christian book that you know of that would gently counter what Girl Wash Your Face is saying that would be helpful?

    Reply

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  1. Book Review // Girl, Wash Your Face – A Beautiful Inheritance - […] Summer Reviews “Girl Wash Your Face” Part Two […]
  2. Thoughtworthy (Amazing Sandals, Charlotte Mason Challenges, and MORE!) | Afterthoughts - […] Summer Reviews “Girl, Wash Your Face” (Part 2) from Sheologians […]

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