Posted in discernment, theology

Sisters, be careful who you follow (not Rachel Hollis); and I’m sorry if you’re grieving today

By Elizabeth Prata

I wrote earlier today of the sad news that author Rachel Hollis and her husband Dave are seeking a divorce. Both parties put out separate announcements on their Instagram accounts.

Rachel said in her announcement that they have been struggling “endlessly for three years to make it work”, and Dave said that “our marriage has run its course”.

I’d written in the above essay that divorce is painful (and a sin) and that I felt empathy for the couple and sad for the children who will now come from a broken home.

There are two other sadnesses and griefs I did not mention. This essay is about those 2 griefs.

Rachel had relied on self and self-made goals for success and happiness in life. She is a published author. She is a sought after speaker. She runs a podcast. She leads marriage conferences and retreat weekends. The self-help cottage industry her books have spawned are a testament of the ‘go get ’em’ goals and personal bootstraps success. By all external appearances, she was the living embodiment of all the success one could achieve in every realm of life- womanhood, wifehood, motherhood, career.

Only one thing was missing. Jesus.

She is quoted in this NY Times article in reference to negative feedback on her chapter about accepting the homosexual community, “I’m a Christian, but I’m the most liberal Christian ever,” she said. “I want to love everybody. I actually think that’s what Jesus would do.”

She professes Him, but most people can see that her books are God-less, absent of Christian precepts and virtues. Anyway, most people could see that, and for those who didn’t, many sisters had lots of earnest talks with people who followed Rachel Hollis or touted her self-helps. We tried. Some listened.

For those who did not listen, they are now grieved. And this is the first of the two outcomes, the third of four really, that are most heartbreaking.

1. A divorce is tragic. (And most often, a sin).

2. The children lose.

3. The influencer’s audience discovers that they are not really one big social media family, they are merchandise. They’ve been had.

The Bible warns us to be careful who we follow.

And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. (2 Peter 2:3 ESV).

I like the KJV better in this verse-

And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.

Barnes Notes-

Make merchandise of you – Treat you not as rational beings but as a bale of goods, or any other article of traffic. That is, they would endeavor to make money out of them, and regard them only as fitted to promote that object.

I was struck by the comments flooding to Rachel Hollis’s Instagram post. Here is a sampling of the comments from her Instagram from people who have unfortunately discovered that they are not part of a happy virtual family, but are simply merchandise in Rachel’s pocket.


This is a shock. You’re supposed to be our friend Rach, aren’t you? Your entire brand is built on being “honest” and “real” but it seems that every word out of your mouth for the past three years, every photo, every video, every podcast… has all been a lie. I don’t want to be friends with a liar. I regret ever buying your books and listening to your podcasts. I believed you. I rooted for you. You inspired me. You deceived me.


I honestly don’t know what to say… I’m broken hearted. Rachel is one of the few people in my world (albeit social media) but someone I admired so much for her commitment to healthy marriage… For kids and for career. It gave me hope and inspiration that I too could have an amazing marriage, an amazing family and pursue my dreams and it sort of feels like the rug just got yanked out .. I literally felt sick cooking dinner in my kitchen when I friend text me. I have nothing but love but I’m saddened and shocked and heartbroken.


Wasn’t this the picture you posted about make out sessions? Things are not as they appear are they. What a joke. I’m sad that you painted a picture a happy marriage picture. Goodluck to you both


I feel super betrayed to be honest. All I ever hear is he’s perfect and we’re perfect and our sex life is so good… I thought this was the generation that didn’t call it quits on marriage and got therapy and made it work. Everyone in my family but me has gotten divorced. If you are best friends and have amazing sex and are great parents and clearly have the same goals, divorce seems like an extremely selfish thing to do. You have 4 kids. I feel for them. Wow.


I am feeling two ways right now. 1) compassion for what the two of you and your kids are going through. I am a divorced momma and I know how hard that transition is. 2) I also can’t help but feel lied to. As a faithful follower of the two of and your brand, I feel like you portrayed your relationship as had overcome the challenges and it was healthy and happy. I was in because I felt like you were honest and forthcoming and we all cheered you on as you renewed your vows and read about how you overcame challenges in marriage. You gave hope to others, like me, who wanted healthy relationships. I guess I feel the need to share that because you’ve chosen to share your lives and make money off of the life you portray in your books, conferences, and social media. There’s a greater responsibility that you’ve decided to take on and as someone who trusted you, I am hurt.


Better delete all those rise together episodes about Marriage and relationships. I feel as if we’ve all been played for these past few years watching your happy marriage through social media and giving us all advice on how to have that.


But the business will survive so please keep sending them your hard earned money so they can peddle the merits of a lifestyle they clearly weren’t even living 🙄. I’m sick of fake influencer culture that puts social media likes before real life. And before you @ me with your outrage, please direct it towards the couple that was charging people $1,500 for a Rise Together marriage conference while heading for divorce. I feel for the women who fell for their nonsense.


Well that makes no sense 🤔 is this a joke? I’m seriously confused. Why would this be true? So your podcast on how to keep the marriage going weren’t true after all? Or is the quarantine’s fault? Like I’m sorry, I’m sorry you can’t work things out but that’s what you both preached. I know you are not perfect but, I’ve listen to ALL your podcasts and how you keep it together as a couple and now this? Wow. I wish you the best of luck to both. I just wish this wasn’t true. 😔


👎 For the sake of your kids, Try NOT working together maybe that will help your marriage. What a disappointment & contradiction to everything you’ve stood up for & your book Girl Wash Your Face. Maybe quarantine got to you? Wait. It. Out. Marriage is a roller coaster it will be with whoever you live with. But the roller coaster always goes back up. Im so confused. You do marriage conferences…Take your own marital advice.


Better delete all those rise together episodes about Marriage and relationships. I feel as if we’ve all been played for these past few years watching your happy marriage through social media and giving us all advice on how to have that.


Honestly, this is really teaching me not to compare. I have put yours and Dave’s relationship on a pedestal as the epitome of success. And as it turn out, despite the image of love and adoration, you are far from perfect. It’s a humbling reminder for us all.


I feel completely let down by you and Dave. You guys put up such a front and sold everyone on this vague idea that you guys were a power couple and how married life was every thing etc. This truly HURTS! I hurt for you BOTH and the kids. More than anything I’ve invested so much time and energy following you guys, listening to your advice, only to be let down with a post like this!

Happy picture terrible content. It’s really hard to read this and not be upset that it was all a LIE! You guys weren’t authentic as we all thought. Anyways, I wish you guys the best!

——-end comments—–

The hypocrisy is evident. For three years Rachel and Dave have literally put on a happy face, have led marriage conferences, have posted relentlessly about their unified success, and it was all a sham. Apparently it was a shock to her audience, because the brand was to be ‘authentic’ but people who have bought her books and paid money for conferences have discovered that in Rachel’s case, ‘authentic’ meant ‘hypocrite’.

This is the 4th grief a situation like this brings us to. Hypocrisy is a blot on the name of Christ. Hypocrisy wrecks more than just the person doing it. Hypocrisy’s effect casts a wide net.

I’ll end with this warning to women, especially younger women. No self-help advice in the world will remain after the fire burns it away. Only those standing on the rock of Jesus will remain, and works done for Him in His name. (1 Corinthians 3:10-15).

Sisters, watch who you follow. I am grieved that many young woman are upset today because they now realize they wasted time, money, and energy following someone whose fruit is not good, rather than investing in Him and good ministries that reflect and proclaim Him. Do not become merchandise!

I’m sorry that you had to find out that Rachel Hollis’s life and teaching and advice was not true. I know it hurts. I was myself deceived by Joel Osteen for over a year before I figured out that what he was selling was a lie. ‘Betrayed’ is a good word. I’ve been there. And I’m sorry.



Christian writer and Georgia teacher's aide who loves Jesus, a quiet life, art, beauty, and children.

4 thoughts on “Sisters, be careful who you follow (not Rachel Hollis); and I’m sorry if you’re grieving today

  1. Anyone, no everyone, who is constantly on social media saying, “Look at me!!” is deeply insecure and in need of constant affirmation. It’s called an idol.

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    1. That’s so true! I feel for the woman who have made Rachel Hollis an idol and are now lamenting their mistake. And nature abhors a vacuum- hopefully it will be filled with someone better

      Liked by 1 person

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