Rachel Hollis is a NYT best-selling author who has captured the hearts of women all over the country. She has novels, cookbooks, an Amazon documentary and massive posters in Target. She is a professing Christian ranking at #1 in the Christian category book lists for months. Women all around are listening to her. So, I decided to check her out for myself.
After perusing through Hollis’ books, I watched her show, Made for More. I read multiple reviews and comments from Christians of Hollis’ newest book. None of it made me feel “made for more,” but the concerns over her teaching made more sense.
After all this, I was just plain tired.
Hollis’ voice, while prominent right now, is among the masses proclaiming a message of empowerment as women work jobs, stay single, get married, raise families and try to survive our do-it-all climate.
Girl, Wash Your Face
Girl, serve your family.
Girl, dream bigger.
Girl, lose your life.
Girl, take control of your life.
Girl, be everything.
Girl, expect everything.
Girl, follow Jesus.
Girl, Stop Apologizing
Girl, read your Bible.
Girl, get some me-time.
These messages are exhausting. One moment the Hollis’ of the world yell at us to have more goals and higher standards. A surge of inner dreams rises, rejoicing at the freedom Hollis’ self-focused message sells. In the next moment, another extreme tells us get over ourselves and die like Jesus ASAP.
Apparently I should be more, serve more, die more, set more boundaries, love myself, die to myself, work harder, love better and maybe do some sewing on the side. We’re going nowhere and everywhere all at the same time.
Am I supposed to be more than I am or am I supposed to forget that I exist at all?
I get the appeal of both sides. I like hearing that if I work as hard as Hollis, I can fly first class too. But Jesus really is better than first class.
Truth is, there’s something to learn from both sides.
Hollis’ call is appealing because women are worn-out and she’s telling us to take better care of ourselves. Her exhortation to be more committed to personal goals is an admirable plea. But, the message of self-empowerment is appealing because the Bible’s message of Spirit-empowerment looks less alluring. Spirit-empowerment might look less glamorous, but it is infinitely more glorious.
Empowerment isn’t wrong, as long as it comes from the Spirit of God. Spirit empowerment comes as we search God’s Word, learn from it, grow in it and manifest wisdom. Should we die to ourselves or should we be writing down goals like Hollis? The only way to really find out is by reading the Bible.
The Bible is Fuel
To know what life is, we have to read the Bible. The Spirit works by reminding us what Jesus says, bringing God’s words to bear in our hearts. If the Spirit gives us life, then the Bible is our food. It’s our fuel. It gives us what we need to function well. The Bible counters the junk we intake everywhere else. The Bible empowers us through the Spirit of the Living God towards eternal glory; the world empowers us towards selfish gain for earthly praise.
The Bible is Balanced
Truth in balance is only found in what God has to say. I am exhorted by God to die to self, but I also read about Jesus going to build his strength when he needs a break in ministry. He didn’t go to the day spa, he went to be alone with his Father. While I get thousands of messages around me, I get only one message in the Bible: follow Jesus no matter what. Admittedly, the Bible gives countless examples of how that’s done.
The Bible Leads Us to Jesus and Jesus is Wisdom
I don’t need messages to love myself more, but not loving myself doesn’t make sense either—God made me to reflect him and I love him. Am I supposed to hate made-in-God’s-image-me?
Jesus, Wisdom incarnate, is superior to self-love in every way. When I get to know Jesus, I learn how to love others, how to pray, how to be corrected, how to plead with God to work his grace amongst us, how to trust him. Jesus, the wise one, teaches me to take a nap or feed myself so that I can pour myself out to people around me.
Are we supposed to put others first? Yep. But we’re to use wisdom in how selflessness is manifested in our lives. And, we’re to view ourselves as God does: people made of dust who are meant to find rest and pleasure in him above all else.
There’s also a broader impact. Hollis’ message leaves out wisdom if the take away is to achieve goals at the expense of others, feeding wide-range tyranny. Christians leave out wisdom when the immeasurable ways women can serve Jesus are limited where Scripture doesn’t limit, sacrificing wisdom for bad orthodoxy. Wisdom is left out when the reigning message is to die, but not also to use your gifts extravagantly for the sake of the gospel.
The Bible Says to Die Because God Wants You to Live
It’s easy to forget how small our lives are. Not because we don’t matter, but because we do. God will bring us safely into the kingdom of heaven. Our final destination is not this life. To live for the here and now is the opposite of wisdom. God’s kingdom is forever. Being successful for only 80 years is a really bad self-business plan when eternity is at hand. When we die to selfish gain and live in God’s design, we’re preparing for forever investment.
You Really Are Made for More
We are made for more, but it’s not for the small pleasure of a first-class plane ticket. It’s so we can bask in the glory of a God we cannot possibly comprehend. Not because we’re dense, but because he’s that great. We’re made for more than what our flesh lusts for. We are made to image the God of the Universe. Our goal should be to reclaim the image God originally created us in. That’s where we’ll find joy. That’s where we’ll find peace. That’s where we’ll find pleasure.
You were made for more than you can possibly understand from listening to men and women who tell you to write down goals and envision them. You were made for heaven. You were made to be like Christ. You were made to glory in God Almighty.
You Were Made for Spirit-Empowerment
The difference between self-empowerment and Spirit-empowerment is that one leads to pleasing Christ. My life doesn’t have to be about how awesome I am or how much of an impact I make; it can simply be about giving others the best thing I have: Jesus. This doesn’t have to look like the coolest new non-profit or building my own business or hopping on the next multi-level marketing sales team. It also doesn’t have to look like staying quietly alone in my home either. Making our lives about pleasing Jesus means that the single gal serving whoever she feels led to or the mom feeding babies through the night or the female CEO who has worked her tail off or the girl who has no idea what she wants to do at all—ALL—have the power to live their best lives. Our best lives now means investing towards our greatest lives forever in heaven.
I’m tired of hearing all the messages. But any message outside of the Bible is going to fall short, even this one. Don’t get your wisdom from your earthly heroes. Get it from Jesus. There you’ll learn how to die, to rest, to serve, to love, to grieve, to hope, to build, to set goals, to enjoy God’s gifts, to use God’s gifts, to make faithful choices—to live well.
Get to know Wisdom, be Spirit-empowered. You might just find that you really are made for more.
Questions for Reflection:
Do you make personal goals like Hollis suggests doing? Do you have dreams of doing great things?
If you list those goals out, would they have anything to do with Jesus?
What things make you feel like a failure? Why? are these things failure according to Scripture?
What would you like to be successful in? And why?
When you think about being successful, do you measure that success gainst what others around you are achieving? Or against what God says is success? do you know what God thinks of as a successful life?
Are you seeking to be successful in faithfulness to Jesus or do you spend more time trying to be successful in other areas?
If you are not successful financially, can you still have a vibrant relationship with Jesus?
What’s the point of having personal dreams and goals?
Do you spend time finding wisdom in God’s Word?
Do you understand and spend time dwelling on the realities of being with Jesus forever in heaven?
Would you consider Jesus a success? If so, what made him successful? Do you see these same qualities in your own life?
What do you do when you have a moment to pursue time for yourself?