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Bailey Tries... The Sacred Rest Challenge

Fun fact, I’ve tried to do this challenge multiple times but have only ever gotten half way through because I got so busy that I forgot. Yep, I was so busy I forgot to do the “resting” exercise I had planned to help me not be so busy. I’d like to tell you that this challenge just requires so much time and energy that it’s impossible to keep up with it but it doesn’t. Actually, it was created to be an intentional focus on what you need without adding to the stress. If you haven’t heard our podcast on rest, you can check it out here and this specific challenge comes from the book “Sacred Rest” by Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith which I reviewed last year.

I knew that this challenge was going to be on my MUST DO list this year because “rest” is my word for 2024 and while my year may not contain the type of rest I originally envisioned, I knew I could benefit from truly being intentional with rest in all areas of my life. 

Starting out you are supposed to take the Rest Quiz which can be found here (along with some other great resources). This helps you identify where you are falling short and where you need to focus. Then you follow a simple daily prompt that is emailed to you each morning which focuses on one specific type of rest. As you go throughout the month the focus changes so that you can benefit in all areas. 

When I originally took the quiz after reading the book, my biggest negatively impacted area was emotional rest, with physical, mental, creative, social and sensory not far behind. In fact, the only area that was deemed efficient was my spiritual rest. I wasn’t surprised by my “healthy” area but I was shocked by some of the others. I knew I was physically struggling with an autoimmune disorder and I knew I was facing some emotionally draining relationships but I honestly thought I was juggling it all better than what this quiz showed. But truthfully, I shouldn’t have been shocked because if I were honest with myself, the only area I was intentionally working to grow and be healthy in was my walk with the Lord. Everything else was a “when I have the time to even think about it” scenario. So what changed? In the months that have passed since initially starting this journey, I have come to recognize the reality of the deficiencies of rest in my life. The book was a game changer and this challenge was just a tangible and easy way to carry out some of what I learned and yes, I actually finished the challenge this time though not perfectly which leads to my first lesson. 

Resting is hard. I’m not talking about sleeping or being lazy or doom scrolling on your phone. I’m talking about revitalizing rest for your weary body and soul which I realized is harder to accomplish when you are someone whose brain never seems to turn off. That was truly the first battle for me. Not feeling guilty over what more productive task I could be doing or making a mental list of how I would “catch up” after taking a bit of a break all while trying to relax. That’s not relaxing. That is frantically going for a walk or doing a painting or drinking coffee. I literally stressed myself out over “not failing” at my rest challenge this time which would be laughable if it wasn’t so pitiful. Actually, this must be pretty common because day one has you focusing on being “present” mentally which makes sense for getting the most out of this challenge and I will say that I did get over that hurdle within this context. So let me share some of my favorite days…

Day seven had you create a vision board for your life which was a fun creative activity while challenging me to be reflective and specific. Personally, this activity included tons of prayer which made it very special. Day eight included something we’ve often talked about on Hey Y’all: The Podcast which is toxic thinking and specifically trading your old thought patterns for new positive (and Godly) truths. Day thirteen involved silence which for many of us is so difficult. A day with no background noises when possible. Just sitting in silence and finding beauty in that. I know many of us don’t want to face the silence because we “need” those distractions but silence brings healing if we will let God meet us there. (I often sit in silence now and it's wonderful!) On day 26, Dr. Dalton-Smith encourages us to be vulnerable and share our stories wherever we can, which is an area of growth I never thought I’d reach when I started this blog. I was so desperate to not seem weak or unworthy that I had huge walls built up. I thought they were protection but they really just kept out all the good things too. All of these days were great but I think my favorite was day 29.

I didn’t specifically set out to do this challenge during the Easter season but by chance it was ending on that weekend which lined up perfectly with the last few challenges. Day 29 was a reminder to not rush past the moments God is speaking to you, especially with love, joy and peace. She also reminds us to offer gratitude to the Lord for these “God winks” and isn’t that the root desire of true rest? To not have a life so busy and overwhelmed that we can’t hear the Lord speak to us or we don’t have time for His gifts. This was a great reflection for me as I looked towards Easter Sunday and what it means to me and yes, I spent Easter “resting” in every way possible thanking the Lord for the ability to rest, trying again and moving closer to His heart. 


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