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Why Rachel Hollis’ Divorce Disappoints So Many

Let me be clear: It’s not my business to be personally disappointed by Rachel Hollis’s divorce. It’s not my place to know the details of “why.” I’m not going to cast condemnation for their personal choices that I know nothing about.

And yet, Rachel Hollis’s divorce comes as a disappointment to so many. 

Not because her personal choices are our business, but because of what they’ve sold us through those personal choices.

Reading the comment sections of her announcement post, scores of people are saying things like, “I feel a little ripped off. A little lied to. I wish you well, but I feel bamboozled,” “I can’t believe in a brand that is based on a lie,” “Was this all for show and sales? Deeply disappointed. I’ll be selling my book. Want to watch people who I can trust. You always said you were transparent with your lives, but your words proved to be untrue.”

Her divorce proves that the entire foundation of her messaging is false. This announcement is making us finally realize that what we’ve been sold, bought into, and believed has been a lie.

Not the divorce itself. I fully respect that as someone’s personal decision, and although what they’ve said publically puts biblical divorce in question, that is not my job to determine. It’s what the divorce says about the message she has sold:

It says that you aren’t actually the hero of your story.

You actually can’t keep every promise you make to yourself.

You can’t believe in yourself enough to make the exact life you want.

You actually aren’t entirely in control of your life.

Sometimes people give up.

That maybe there are things in our lives that we didn’t allow to be there. We didn’t welcome them, and the unhappiness they bring, and yet there they are.

The gospel Rachel preaches would say that she has failed because she couldn’t keep a promise to herself–and her husband– to stay married. It would say she has failed because she (or they) actually couldn’t be the hero of the story to fix a marriage. It would say she has failed because she is not entirely in control of her life.

Her gospel is graceless.

It is works based.

When that “shame free plan” is suddenly up to us, the shame comes right back in.

We know those statements I listed above shouldn’t be true, yet according to the logic of her messaging, if you fail, then those things have to be true. 

And yet, we know there should be grace. That grace is not found in her ideology, messages, or gospel she has literally sold us.

It is found in the Gospel.

It’s found in admitting, yeah, I can’t keep every promise I make. I can’t believe in myself enough to make my life entirely how I wanted it. Sometimes I give up on things. I’m not entirely in control of my life.

Rachel’s ideology on life is determined by “self” and our own power. That will inevitably leave us disappointed and with feelings of shame when we can’t live up to our own expectations.

True grace is found in admitting that there is only one place to find freedom, peace, and joy, and it’s not within ourselves. It’s within Christ and the confession that we aren’t all of those things. But that he is.

A commenter on Instagram, mama.planting.seeds said, “To those saying “but you are the model of what marriage is!” – NO. The Bible is. And “If you cant make it who can??” – STOP. Millions of old couples who have been/were married 50 plus years. Stop idolizing this woman. Humans are fallible and broken. Clearly transparency was an issue here. Things are not always as they seem. But please – do NOT hold Rachel or anyone else for that matter, up as an idol or someone to mirror after. Christ is our only example and hope.”

Let’s remember exactly what she said. We can be disappointed that what we’ve been sold wasn’t true. But let’s not idolize people who are human just like us. Let’s be more discerning about who we listen to admire, and take advice from–all while expecting them to struggle like us.

It would be really hard to announce a divorce to millions of people. I respect that. We shouldn’t expect anyone to have to be honest about their marriage struggles, but it gets hard when they’re selling us their authentic marriage.

{Download my free 5 day bible study that explores these types of messages that point women to themselves:

5 Day Self Esteem Gospel Bible Study}

We shouldn’t be disappointed with someone’s personal choice. But selling people an ideology with your life and then proving its wrong will bring some disappointment.

She has testified with her life that her gospel is works based. I hope she sees that, but realistically I hope we can see it as an example that drives us to the true gospel. One that is grace-based. The one that says that when we fail, there is grace for us, not subtly implied condemnation.

We’re not in control. We can’t keep every promise we make. We can’t believe in ourselves enough to make life entirely how we want it. But we can still have freedom from all of that and the shame it brings. Thanks not to ourselves, but to Christ.


I share a lot more about the “gospel” Rachel just happens to be preaching over on Instagram and how our true joy and freedom is found not in ourselves, but Christ.


Related Posts:

Self Love: What Its Message Gets Wrong

Girl, You’re Not Enough

The Self Esteem Gospel

June 9, 2020


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