AAC Women's Blog

Girl Wash Your Face: A Response From a Former Goal Digger

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I could see the balloon archway ahead. Although my wobbly legs were begging for just a moment of rest, I had to push through the final moments. 13 miles down, and .1 left to go. 

Months of early morning jogs, two pairs of running shoes, and countless strawberry banana shakes had led me to the finish line. As I crossed and had a bulky medal placed around my neck, I felt a rush of pride in all my hard work finally paying off. But the rush didn’t last long and was soon replaced with okay, what’s next? I was a goal digger. I was ready for something new to add to my accomplishment list. 

I was precisely the type of woman that would have eaten up every word in Rachel Hollis’s New York Times Bestseller Girl Wash Your Face, which is littered with statements like “You need to prove to yourself that you can do it. You need to prove to yourself that you are capable of anything you set your mind to. You have the power.”

A switch in my “you have the power” mindset occurred the final year of college when I was challenged to invite God into my decisions. Although I prayed for God’s direction, I was still shocked when He disrupted everything I had planned for myself. My grades, awards, and education all pointed to a fulfilling career as a high school English teacher, but I instead found myself sobbing as I boarded a plane leading me to eleven months of mission work.

Sleeping on floors, being packed like a sardine into run-down buses, and picking up trash on littered beaches is not what I wanted. But it was God’s plan. In the eleven months of being overseas, God took this goal digger and taught me the joy that comes from giving away everything I ever wanted and letting God give me something better- something I never realized I needed. In eleven months, there were three truths God taught me that might not align with the teachings of Rachel Hollis, but have radically changed my life.

1.  God’s plan is better than mine.

In Girl Wash Your Face, Hollis sites achieving financial success and ending up on a bestseller list to her goal setting and can-do attitude. Hollis makes statements like, “When it comes to your dreams, no is not an answer.”Although having dreams and setting goals isn’t bad, we have to wonder how to respond when our dreams don’t align with where God calls us.

Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” In this we are reminded that God is trustworthy and capable. This verse doesn’t say that God needs my help and suggestions for the future. In fact, nowhere in the Bible do we find that we need to tell God what to do. Rather, we must cling to the fact that God is trustworthy, even if He takes us somewhere different than our original dream.  

2.  I am called to put the needs of other people above my wants.

While Hollis makes statements like “You should be the very first of your priorities”, the Bible offers a different perspective. When we make our whole lives about achieving a new accomplishment, we sometimes forget to love and care for the people around us. Philippians 2:3-4 states, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” Sometimes, this means laying down our own goals for the sake of our spouses, parents, and friends.  

3.  The earthly things that I work hard for will eventually slip away.

We love seeing our bank accounts grow, closets get bigger, and the smell of new cars. It’s okay to enjoy these things, but it’s not okay to view them as the purpose of life. As Francis Chan states, “Do you know that nothing you do in this life will ever matter, unless it is about loving God and loving the people he has made?” Everything we can ever earn on this Earth will eventually slip away. Replacing our earthly perspective with an eternal perspective is a challenge, but will lead us to living for things that actually matter.
 

To anyone who is debating whether or not to read Rachel Hollis’s Girl Wash Your Face, I would encourage you to approach the read with caution, because what we read impacts us in ways that we don’t even realize. While I read Girl Wash Your Face, I definitely felt inspired and encouraged, but the overall tone of do whatever it takes it get what you want wasn’t the healthiest for this former goal digger. Be wise in assessing your own heart and whether you are able to approach Hollis’s teachings with a discernible mindset.  As Psalm 4:23 says, “above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”          

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About the Author: Rebecca Bronson

After graduating from UW Oshkosh with her literature teaching degree, Becca felt a call to pursue international missions. In January 2017, Becca left the United States and joined the World Race mission and discipleship program where she traveled to eleven countries in eleven months to serve in various ministries.

Upon returning home, Becca heard about Appleton Alliance’s residency program and felt confident it was the next step. She is currently working with the Women’s Ministry department while pursuing her master’s in Theology and hopes to someday work in ministry full-time.

When not doing schoolwork, Becca enjoys traveling, reading, swimming, running, and snuggling with her dogs.

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