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In Rachel Hollis’ Self-Help Empire, God Is Just an Accessory

In Rachel Hollis’ Self-Help Empire, God Is Just an Accessory

Rachel Hollis has made a career out of telling people who they can become. From business owners to stay-at-home moms to college grads standing at the starting line of adulthood, Hollis believes the same truth: You can do it all. But she doesn’t stop there. She backs up her talk by showing you she’s doing it all, too.

Hollis’ motivational speaking tours, podcasts, and conferences (turned movie events) draw people in with witty, helpful tips for living their best lives. Her most recent book, Girl, Stop Apologizing, has been on the New York Times bestseller list for eight weeks while her previous book, Girl, Wash Your Face, has graced the list for 55 weeks. She recently launched her own clothing line for QVC, too. She is killing it in the influencer world.

From her best-selling authorship to her mother-of-four-defying great hair, Hollis represents something women have been striving for. But even as I find myself inspired and equipped to set life goals (like how to wear white), I can’t help but wonder why she’s such a big deal. A lot of people are motivating. What is it about her?

Simply, Hollis is the woman many of us want to be.

Smart? Check.

Beautiful? Check.

Successful? Check.

Hot marriage? Great Kids? Amazing Style? Check, check, check.

Hollis represents the woman who has it all. And if you follow her, she believes you can too. Her work boils down to this simple equation:


We like people who believe in us, people who tell us like it is but push us to become better. We like people who are where we think we want to be.

Have you ever dreamed of success? Hollis says you can have it. Want to be beautiful? She’ll give you style and makeup tips. Hoped for a sexy relationship? She’ll tell you all about “Sexy September” and how to make it happen. She knows what people are looking for and shows them how to get it.

Hollis says she used to be just like you. And by showing you what she has now, she also shows what’s missing in your life. In telling you how to bridge that gap, she makes you a believer — in yourself.

Not everyone is a fan.

Hollis says she is a Christian — her latest books have been published as Christian titles by HarperCollins — but her faith-based content leaves much to be desired. In fact, some have found that her self-help motivation and achievement messages lack the right focus for the Christian market.

While Hollis does believe all things are possible, she leaves God out of her equation. She says “you can do all things,” but doesn’t mention it only works with Christ. And those “all things” that we are striving for need to line up with Scripture, too. The Bible is clear we should be striving to serve others, love well and glorify God. When our priorities are on worldly achievements, our focus has shifted to ourselves.

Hollis does mention her faith in her writing, but she doesn’t claim her message is faith-based, thus creating a loophole that has kept her in the Christian market. She will motivate you, provoke you to evaluate your abilities and be your perfectly styled cheerleader/tough-love coach. It seems like she’s covering it all, but you’re only getting half-truths.

Hollis doesn’t offer spiritual advice. She may mention the Bible or God or talk about how she grew up aa s preacher’s kid, but she doesn’t flavor her advice with spiritual support. It’s as if her ideas are a great dress and God is the optional necklace to pull out when she (and you) wants something extra.

God wants more for us than this type of occasional special-event mention. Hollis may help us check off our goals, but her methods lack the spiritual foundation we need as Christians. We can listen to her speeches, read her books and go to her conferences, but they’re missing something, and that something is a God-offered sense of what is best for us.

This may cause pushback, but in fairness: Hollis does not make the specific claim to be a faith blogger, writer or speaker. Rather, she is a Christian who blogs, speaks, writes and is published by a Christian publisher. While some would hope for more of a faith angle, Hollis is clear about who she is and what she does. Still, that clarity doesn’t make up for the gaps in her offerings.

You want help with setting and accomplishing goals? Hollis has you covered. You want to stop old patterns of thinking? She’ll challenge you to do so. You want to feel empowered? She’ll make you feel like you can do it all. But that’s where it falls apart: It’s all up to you. You do more, you hustle, you push, you achieve, you become. It’s all on you, for better or worse.

As a person of faith with a large platform, Hollis had the opportunity to give the whole story. She believes in who God created us to be, but her work doesn’t show how He’s still here, still working, still living in us. If you want motivation on a spiritual level, Hollis doesn’t deliver. Following her advice might advance you toward your material goals, but that advancement will leave God behind. You, however, can flip the equation.

Start with God. Let Him be your foundation for believing in who you are, for finding your strength, for accomplishing any goal you set. Ask God to show you His dreams for you, and walk forward in those. Then you will have the full truth Hollis is missing.

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