The book Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis is everywhere right now. I first heard about it a month or two ago, and started following Rachel Hollis on Instagram. Initially I only heard positive comments, rave reviews, and ladies insisting it will change your life.
So I did what every homeschooling mom on a budget does – I put it on hold at the library. 🙂
While I was waiting for it to be my turn to get the book, suddenly I started reading comments from ladies who had a different opinion. They were sharing that it didn’t feel like a Christian book, even though it was published through a Christian publisher. I started paying closer attention to Rachel Hollis’s Instagram page and started seeing things that made me uncomfortable.
Still…I wanted to read the book. So I picked it up, started reading it with an open mind, and I couldn’t put it down. I haven’t finished it all the way (because, “Hello! I have a six week old baby taking up my attention right now!”), but I sat in bed and held Emily one night and read chapter after chapter, laughing and relating to all the stories shared.
I even messaged a friend and told her that I was actually really enjoying the book. You just had to go into it with an open mind, knowing you had to wade through some stuff you might not agree with.
Rachel is incredibly relatable. She is brutally honest, and I feel like she truly does have a heart that wants to reach out and encourage women.
But the more I read and pondered the book and read new updates on her Instagram page, the more unsettled I became.
Her whole premise seems to be this:
You are enough. You have control of your own life, so you should chase after your dreams and make them happen. Don’t live your life for anyone else. Do what makes you happy.
At first glance, that made me feel really good!
We need to stop and give more to ourselves. I knew I that I deserved more me time! I can be so much better if I just stop and focus on myself!
Ladies, this is dangerous water.
Girl, before you wash your face, seek HIS face!
It’s not all about ourselves. As Christians, It’s not about how happy we can be.
What makes this so dangerous is that it’s not black or white. Some of what she is saying is true. I just feel like she has taken it to one extreme, and then ladies backlash against it and take it to the other extreme. There is a middle of the road balance approach to her book, and more importantly, to our life.
In the above quote she is saying you don’t need anyone’s permission or approval for your life. I would absolutely disagree with that in certain situations, but totally agree with her on certain areas of life.
We don’t need anyone’s approval or permission to:
Read our scriptures.
Study God’s word.
Follow the 10 commandments.
Be a faithful and loving wife and mother.
However if we are married, we should want our husband’s approval (not because we are a doormat, but because we are in a loving partnership with our husband) regarding things like:
Should we homeschool?
Can I try to start a business on the side for some extra income?
Should I spend this much money on groceries each month?
Do you like how I dress…or my hairstyle?
Her book is hard to pick apart, because there is truth there. We do need to be careful that as wives and mothers we don’t burn ourselves out. It’s ok to stop for a bubble bath, to focus on exercising or eating healthier, to occasionally have a girl’s night out. Basically we can think about nurturing ourselves.
But I feel like she totally takes it too far. That her premise is everything revolves around us, but as Christians we know that is not true.
My husband has written about how parents need to keep to the middle of the road on his Character Badges blog, and the same principles apply to our lives as Christian women. We all can swing one way or another, some ladies can give of themselves to others until they are so frazzled and burnt out, they are tempted to walk away from everything. They obviously have swung to the left side.
Other women ignore their husbands and children, their house is falling apart, and they sit on the couch watching tv all day long. They have chosen the right side of the road.
The middle of the road is a blessed place to be. Follow the line that goes straight, and that line will help you keep walking higher and higher in your spiritual walk. You can balance out parenting, marriage, church work, homeschooling, and your own personal needs and justified wants.
Don’t sacrifice yourself on the alter of motherhood. If we don’t ever take time to focus on ourselves, to sleep enough, eat right, exercise, spend time in God’s word, then we will burn out and never have anything to give. If you struggle with never doing a single thing for yourself, maybe you should read this book. But it has to be read with spiritual eyes that can discern the great need for the Lord first, and that without him we are nothing.
We can’t control our life. We all have dreams, hopes, and ambitions. Guess what? Sometimes those dreams are shattered, and it’s not our fault. Sometimes our businesses don’t take off like we had hoped, or we have an illness and we can’t seem to lose the weight no matter how healthy we eat. Some ladies can’t carry a baby to full term or even get pregnant.
It’s not all about having control of our life. It’s about giving up control of our life and asking God what his plans are, and walking in those steps.
If you desperately need some encouragement as a wife and mother, may I suggest checking out Sally Clarkson’s books? I can wholeheartedly recommend her as a godly Christian author, someone that will give you sound advice that is in the middle of the road!
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