Are You Self-Helping Your Way Through Life?

Mar 31, 2020Challenging Topics + Faith, God's Word

Yes, I am finally calling out the self-help culture that we have been wrapped up in more lately. It does not be only from books (although I will get into that more in this post),
but it can also come from:

  • Podcasts you listen to,
  • Conferences to hear from successful Entrepreneurs and motivational speakers, sometimes even from….
  • Pastors

This is something that I have been wanting to write about for a long time. To speak up about. God has placed this issue in my heart and the problem is growing into a major complication….but here is the truth below…

 

God-help is better than self help.

We were not meant to self-help our way through life. We are not meant to read all the books, attend all the conferences, buy all their products, or listen to all the podcasts (I know I am a co-host of one…)

We are not meant to be self-sufficient. We ultimately cannot save ourselves from…ourselves. We need Jesus.

Jesus said to follow Him, not to follow our own selves and on what WE want to do. But, as it states in the Bible about the days ahead being difficult,

“For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred.” -2 Timothy 3:2

 

What is self-help or “self-improvement”?

Here is the clear definition by psychologist Niel Eék:

“Self-improvement is about consciously identifying and developing one or more facets of your life. From the perspective of an entrepreneur, self-improvement will often entail some sort of mental training but can mean anything from practicing stress management, to valuable goal-setting. Professionals are often keen to learn things like time-management techniques (for better prioritizing tasks) and increasing productivity without compromising mental well-being.”

So, this can come from anywhere like books, e-books, podcasts, conferences, videos, webinars, coaching programs, motivational speakers, etc.

 

Self-Help has risen so much in the last two years…

From the article, “The Self-Improvement Industry Is Estimated to Grow to $13.2 billion by 2022” by Iulia-Cristina Uta,

  • The people “driving the growth of the self-improvement industry” are the Millennial.
  • ”94% of millennial reported making personal improvement commitments and said they’d be willing to spend nearly $300 a month on self-improvement”
  • The self-improvement market was worth $9.9 billion in 2016 and is estimated to grow to $13.2 billion by 2022…” Something is working here. People, especially the Millennial, are investing their money and time into the self-improvement markets. But, it is also NOT working.

 

It is so satisfying….but…

However, with self-improvement, it can be very rewarding and satisfying, at first.

When we start to look up to some of the people we are inspired by, we follow them on social media, check on their stories, subscribe to their email list, and they tell us if we do this, buy this, or say this, we will be happy and successful and become the people who we are destined to become…if we would just do the hard work. Put in the effort. Write down our gratitude & success journal. Invest in ourselves.

 

I am not stating that self-help is evil or you should never try to improve yourself. But, if it ever gets to the point you don’t pray for Jesus to help you and it’s all by yourself, that’s when things can go wrong very quickly.

 

I know that it is encouraging to improve yourself and your health, well-being, diet, goal-setting, and many other things. But, in the heart of it all, the issue is that you are doing this by yourself, by your own strength, by your own capability.

Here are some quotes I found, all mostly from Pinterest, that is within the self-help or hustle cultures.

 

  • “If you’re unhappy, that’s on you.”
  • “Push yourself, because no one else is going to do it for you.”
  • “You get what you work for, not for what you wish for.”
  • “Be your own hero.”

 

How does the self-help tie into the Hustle Culture?

This is just a short and brief summary of how the self-help culture can tie into the hustle.

So, in the hustle culture, it is defined as

“the societal standard that you can only succeed by exerting yourself at max capacity professionally. Everyday. Hustle culture does not sleep. Hustle culture does not take lunch breaks. Hustle culture is waking up Saturday morning and making spreadsheets instead of pancakes.”

Basically, with the self-help culture, it turns into the hustle. When you are busy with only yourself and what you can do, writing down your “I am” or “I will” statements in your success journal, setting your own goals, making a name for yourself, you are now already on the crazy, hustle train.

 

Now, I have to bring up a certain author & a certain book.

Within the last few years, I kept seeing women rave about this new Christian, self-help book.

So, naturally, I found this woman’s Instagram. But, I never followed her and never read her book. Why? Something did not sit right with me, the way that she worded her captions and the quotes she would post on her feed, her stories, and videos.

I know now in my heart that the Holy Spirit was showing me that even though she states she is a Christian and is published by a Christian publisher, her words are far from what the Bible says. And, her name is Rachel Hollis and I am speaking about her book, Girl, Wash Your Face.

The ONLY reason why I bring her book up is because there are SO many women that I know and follow on social media that rave about her.

 

But, I want to shine a light on why her book and her life is an EXACT example of the blog post is about: the idea that you are in control of your own destiny & only you can get yourself there.

 

I am not going to bash on her or her book… but I will list out a few resources that I have found, both secular and religious articles written solely on the topic of her book and how it affects women.

  1. “Girl, Wash Your Face? What Rachel Hollis Gets Right and Wrong” (Christian-view)
  2. “Girl, Wash Your Face” Is A Massive Best-Seller With A Dark Message” (Secular Review)
  3. “In Rachel Hollis’ Self-Help Empire, God Is Just an Accessory” (Christian magazine review)

 

Last note: Please, use discernment, pray, and do your research before you buy people’s books or follow them on social media because they may not exactly be good for you.

 

Why is this a silent epidemic even in the Christian circle?

We can fool ourselves so well. We are sly. And the devil knows it. But, thankfully, God knows this too, and He can help us from ourselves.

The problem with us as humans, we tend to worship and serve something. If it isn’t God, then what have we replaced God with?

What idols are we worshiping? The people in the self-improvement market, like speakers, pod-casters, and authors, are human, too.

No, it is not horrible if we want to improve ourselves, like setting better goals, time management, eating better, exercising more, and even strengthening our walk with Jesus.

But, if we put our hopes in people instead of God, they are always going to fail you or let you down at some point. But, Jesus will never let us down. Has He so far?

We can also glorify ourselves. As if we can live our lives on our own, without Jesus, without anyone else’s help. We are smarter, better, capable, efficient, qualified, and experienced. We can handle it by ourselves. Not.

It may only work for a short period of time, of improving your sleep, bettering your diet and exercise, learning all the business tips, creating a successful routine, doing all the things, and hustling to the top. But, it won’t last and we will burn ourselves out.

This woman stated it perfectly in her post that I found: “Jesus never called us to chase after power, money, and fame; he calls us to follow him.”

God tells us to deny ourselves, not to self-help our way through life.

“If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed?” Luke 9:23-25

What good will you benefit if you gain the whole world and then lose yourself and your soul?

That is such a scary and eye-opening question that Jesus asked.

I believe that He is asking you this today, if you feel burned out on the self-help or hustle culture. Jesus will help the helpless.

You just have to turn to Him, surrender your all, and pray for His help to go forward. You don’t have to do all the things. The only thing you need to do for yourself is follow Jesus. Have God-help, not just self-help.

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Thank you for reading,

 

Lianna Bond

Co-founder of The Simple Mission

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