So, if you know me even a little bit then you know that I love me some Rachel Hollis. If your new here then you probably know who she is or at least have heard of her two most popular books, ‘Girl, Wash Your Face’ and ‘Girl, Stop Apologizing.’ She is a power house full of encouragement and inspiration.
I was introduced to her and her books about 6 months ago. After months and months of hearing how amazing her book, ‘Girl, Wash Your Face’ is, I decided to read it for myself. Well, actually I didn’t read it I listened to it on Audible because audiobooks are my jam! After only 20minutes of listening to the book I knew I had hit the jackpot because in all seriousness, I think at this point I had shouted ‘AMEN’ probably 35 times.
When I finished Girl, Wash Your Face I started to follow Rachel on social media and listen to her podcast, Rise.” I quickly fell in love with how real and vulnerable she is about every aspect of her life including her family, faith, business, and dreams. This girl was inspiring me right and left along with a million other woman. Then her next book came out, ‘Girl, Stop Apologizing.’ This was the book I had been waiting for and was beyond eager to read.
Let me give you little back story first though. You see, a year before this book came out God put it on my heart to start a blog. Something I had thought about doing before, but never put much effort or seriousness into. When it was clear to me that God was telling me to go after this, I put all my questions, fears, and doubts aside and told him YES.
I knew that if He was the one guiding my ship then there was no way I could fail so my questions, fears, and doubts meant diddly squat. Well, after a year of working on and launching my blog I learned 3 important things.
- Accomplishing anything requires hard work, dedication, organization and goals.
- Just because God is behind your dream doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy, it just means he is bigger than any obstacle you come up against.
- You should seek guidance from other professionals in your field if you expect to grow or advance. For example; I’m currently working through two different courses, taught by other bloggers, that help me learn all the different (and sometimes overwhelming) parts of blogging.
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The reason I’m giving you this back story is so you can see why I was so excited to dig into Rachel’s new book, “Girl, Stop Apologizing.” At the time of the books release I was a year into my blogging journey and was eager to learn anything and everything I could about setting and achieving goals and chasing after your dreams. Well, who better to learn from than someone who has already walked down that road.
So, I preordered (Yes, I was that excited.) the book on Audible and the day it came out I didn’t waist a second. I was listening to it at every chance I could, in the shower, while folding laundry, while cooking dinner, and even in the car. I’ll let you in on a little secret, I have now listened to it TWICE! Yep, twice! I really do love it that much.
Now, let be totally transparent with you. It was never my intention or desire to write a review for Girl, Stop Apologizing. I honestly didn’t think I needed to, that is until one day I came across a “Christian” review of the book on Facebook. This review had me shaking my head thinking, “Wow, they really missed the point of her book.”
A few weeks later I was scrolling through a faith blog and I came across a post that was another review of Rachel’s book that was very similar to the one I had read just a few weeks back. In that moment I decided I needed to write a review of my own and here’s why.
- I think many of these “Christian” reviews are missing the whole point of her book.
- The reviewers are making her book into something it isn’t and was never intended to be.
- They are trying to use the “lack of scripture” to call her views selfish and her encouragement to chase your dreams idolatry.
So, lets break this down and be open-minded.
WHAT IS GIRL, STOP APOLOGIZING
This book is a SELF-HELP book. It is not and was never intended to be a “Christian” book full of scripture and biblical teachings to help you chase your dreams. Rachel wrote her book in a way so that any and everyone could read and benefit from what she has to say.
She does mention her faith and relationship with God in her books because she’s a Christian and it’s a huge part of her life, but her intention in writing this book was to appeal to all woman, not just Christian women. Some may not agree with her decision on this, but I do, whole heartedly, and here’s why.
Without the restrictions of a narrow focus her book now has the ability to speak to a multitude of people. It can encourage, inspire, and love on a greater number of women who desperately need it. Correct me if I’m wrong but doesn’t the Bible mention countless times the importance of loving one another? (1 Peter 4:18, John 15:12, 1 Corinthians 13:13) I don’t know about you, but one of the most impactful moments of my life was the first time I had someone tell me they believed in me.
I was twenty years old at the time and the moment those words were uttered to me, it sparked a flame in my heart that had never been lit before. Not only was this person saying they believed in me, but they were showing God’s love for me through their encouragement. In reality Rachel Hollis’s book is just one big I BELIVE IN YOU statement to other woman and a way to show them that they should believe in themselves too.
In my opinion this is one of the greatest ways you can show one another love. You’re standing alongside them encouraging them to pursue the hidden desires of their heart and telling them that you believe in them even when they don’t believe in themselves. The impact this can have on someone is greater than most of you could ever understand unless you have experienced it first-hand.
Many Christians don’t realize that there are many areas of influence for us to take part in that are outside the typical church or ministry. We think if influence is being done outside those areas than somehow its worldly and not of God. We have to remember that we are supposed to be like Jesus and most of his time loving on and ministering to the people of his time was outside of a church or what we would consider a typical ministry. How can we expect to have an influence on those around us when we are stuck in the four walls of our church or surrounded by people only from our congregation?
Some may argue the fact that the reason she wrote to a bigger audience is to make more money, but in reality, why is that a bad thing? Yes, the bible says the love of money is the root of all evil, (1 Timothy 6:10) but who are we to say that her decision to do this was to make more money or because she “loves money?” Who are we to judge how she spends her money?
Do you know her personal finances? Do you know how much she donates? Do you know how much she tithes? Do you know if she supports any ministries with her income? No, you don’t, and honestly, it’s none of your business. How her and her family decide to spend and make money is their personal choice and is of no concern to you. If her decision to make money is from what you would consider selfish reasons then that is left for God to judge, NOT US.
Also, let’s take a second and talk about the fact that she is very open about the things she buys and has paid for in the past. Some, if not most, of these things are what one would consider lavish items. Here’s my question though, why is it that just because she’s a Christian, can afford, and does purchase lavish items it’s somehow a bad or sinful thing?
The Bible doesn’t say, “having money is the root of all evil” it says, “LOVING money is the root of all evil.” Someone with a million dollars in their bank account can be without sin if their heart is in the right place. Someone who holds their money with an open hand, is willing to give when God tells them to, and isn’t pursing financial gain at the expense of everything else.
In my opinion the Bible is referring to loving money in a way that you put it as your number one priority while neglecting the more important parts of life like your marriage, family, and even relationship with God. When you, as a Christian, make acquiring more and more money your number one priority it causes you to fall into sin in a multitude of areas.
I have seen multiple people have huge, beautiful, God given dreams in their life. They have spent years growing their business and making money because they knew that it was the means to achieving their dreams.
For example, my friends who make a ridiculous amount of money every month keep pushing forward within their company because they know the more money they make means the more money they have to pour into their ministry to love on people and dig wells that offer clean water to the people of Africa.
This dream of theirs was given to them by God and they pursue it with their whole heart. In order to have their dream as a reality means they have to have a great deal of money. It’s not a foreign concept that money makes the world go around. So, let’s remember, HAVING money isn’t the root of all evil, it’s the LOVE of money. That means it’s about where your heart is, not what the number is in your back account.
CHASING YOUR DREAMS
In a nut shell Girl, Stop Apologizing, is about showing you that your dreams are something you should be chasing after and how to do it. In many of these “Christian Reviews” I read things like;
“You don’t need to chase your dreams you need to be following Jesus.”
“The world needs more Jesus, not more you.”
They may be using scripture to back up all their statements, but what they’re also doing is putting words and meanings into Rachel’s book that were never there to begin with.
Rachel never says in her book that going after your dreams somehow means that you’re now required to sacrifice your relationship and walk with God. She never says the world has enough Jesus so now let’s give them some more of you. Her point is that your dreams are a part of you and given to you by God and for that, they should be pursued.
During college I was in a ministry/cult (that’s a story for another day) that had a similar view point on life. It was ingrained in me that our dreams and desires where meant to be thrown away, that way we can “die to ourselves and live fully for Christ.” Yep, Luke 9:23 was quoted like it was greatest Bible verse of all time.
This made me believe that my dreams were somehow sinful and not a Godly way of living my life. During this season I sacrificed many of my dreams and desires because I felt like it was the “Christian” thing to do.
It wasn’t until I left the ministry/cult and read a book called “Dreaming with God” by Bill Johnson that I realized that this ‘sacrifice your dreams’ way of living wasn’t from God. To say this book changed my life is an understatement. It showed me how our dreams and the desires of our hearts were placed there by God and should be cultivated and pursued. In all honesty, it’s the number one book I recommend to any Christian woman who is wanting to chase after their dreams, whether they believe they should or shouldn’t. It’s really a phenomenal read.
As a Christian, chasing our dreams and our walk with God are two things that can and should coexist. If you try to pursue a dream of yours without God walking right beside you, then most likely you’re going to crash and burn. Having him walk beside you and helping guide you along the way will most likely help you reach your end goal sooner and with less roadblocks. Remember He sees the bigger picture while you only see the here and now.
READING BETWEEN THE LINES
When you read between the lines of anything whether it’s a book, a text you received from a friend, or a conversation you had with someone else, you can see a multitude of different meanings. Woman tend to see more meaning behind something than men, I guess it’s because of how we’re wired.
Most of the time, if we aren’t careful, we’re going to see things that aren’t there. We read a text from a friend that says, “Why weren’t you at church?” and we take it as them judging us for missing service instead of the true meaning that they were just checking to make sure everything was ok.
This is where I think a lot of the other reviewers made a mistake. I think they saw her message and through their own personal viewpoint on life and being a Christian, they inserted what they believed her message was teaching other women. I don’t think these other reviewers are out to get Rachel. I believe that deep down their intention is to encourage other Christian woman to be Godly in every way they can.
Unfortunately, they just aren’t well informed about dreaming with God. Maybe they didn’t know that pursuing your dreams and walking with God are two things that can live together. Maybe they have been hurt by someone who pursued their dreams but at the expense of their relationship with God. Thankfully pursing your dreams can be done in a Godly way and being a Christian doesn’t require you to throw them all out the window just so you can be a follower of Christ.
DISSERNMENT & WISDOM
When you’re seeking advice or encouragement from something like a self-help book or even from someone you don’t have a significant degree of trust with, you need to have some level of discernment and wisdom. This will help you weed out the good from the bad and even separate the truth that aligns with God’s word from the crap.
When I read any kind of self-help book I always go into it with an open-mind, but I also approach the advice that’s being given with discernment and wisdom. If something they say doesn’t feel right to me then I push it aside and only allow myself to take in the good nuggets of knowledge.
Now I want to be completely open and honest with you guys, even if some of you may not agree with my view on her book. I have read it twice now and the second time I read it much slower and really tried to dissect what she was saying. In the end my viewpoint and opinion on what she was saying didn’t change.
I believe her heart was pure in writing this book and her overwhelming intention is to get woman to realize they were made for more than being just a mom and wife. We were created with dreams and aspirations that shouldn’t get swept under the rug. She wants you to see that you have the potential to achieve great and wonderful things, you just have to believe in yourself. God created you and even gave you those amazingly gigantic dreams. If He gave them to you then that means he believes in you, so how much more should you believe in yourself. Believing in yourself isn’t a bad or sinful thing. It’s being confident in who God created you to be and walking that out boldly each and every day.
IN A NUTSHELL
Rachel’s overall message in Girl, Stop Apologizing is to show woman that they were created for more, being a mom and wife doesn’t have to be a woman’s only identities, your dreams are worth going after, and you don’t have to apologize for not fitting in a specific mold someone else thinks you should fit into. She also teaches you how to create better habits and effective ways to achieve your goals.
As a Christian woman I believe her message is encouraging, powerful, and full of so much truth. Just remember this is a self-help book, not a Christian advice and biblical teaching book. So, when she says to chase after your dreams, it’s now your responsibility to make sure your dream aligns with God’s word. This means spending time praying about it, seeking Godly counsel, and making sure that chasing your dream doesn’t make you neglect your other priorities like your family and walk with Christ.