The Wholehearted Hero: Bailey Hurley

Today I have the honor of featuring a special hero and long-time friend, Bailey Hurley. Bailey and I went to church together throughout high school, which were some of my most formative years. It was during this time I truly learned to pursue God and taste true community. She was a consistent encouragement then and now. 

Just last week I received a letter in the mail hand addressed by Bailey encouraging me in my business and blogging efforts. This is a small glimpse into who she is - Bailey seeks to value community over competition and empower other women to reach their potential and use their unique set of gifts. I'm excited to share her words with you! 

1.    Can you give us a snapshot into your life in Denver? What are you doing now and what led you to start blogging? 

Denver is where I became my own person. I’ve had some of my biggest disappointments and seen some amazing victories. I first came to Denver to get my degree in Leadership at Denver Seminary but BONUS!-- found an amazing church, met my husband, and started a family.

Since becoming a stay-at-home mom, all these doors have opened for me to write from home. I was working on a book proposal when a writing consultant mentioned I needed to have a blog. This was the last thing I wanted to do because everyone and their cat blogs. I began the blog a year ago and decided to continue the project until it no longer became a joy.

I write to equip women to root themselves in God so they can root themselves in relationships. The mission grew out of 1 John 4: 7-21: love is from God so if we are God’s children we demonstrate His love by the way we love others.

I also write the friendship column for Radiant Magazine, partner with author Amy Lively and her ministry How to Love Your Neighbor, and copy write for a local nonprofit.

2.    I've loved watching you pursue your call as a blogger and writer, especially as you've juggled being a wife and mom. Did this come naturally to you?

Since I was young, I kept a journal. Writing my thoughts or even my grocery list is relaxing and life-giving to me (I know it isn’t for everyone). The practice is natural but writing for public consumption is difficult; mostly because I constantly battle insecurities.  

I feel insecure about being a blogger amongst a sea of bloggers. There’s so many choices and so little attention spans so it can be hard to put a lot of work and effort into your writing/website knowing that maybe just your mom will read it. I feel insecure about my grammar. I feel insecure telling others to read my blog. It’s a daily battle.

Despite the insecurities, I enjoy the creative aspect and if one woman feels understood or is challenged to invest in their relationships then it was worth it.

3.    By now many of us are familiar with the hashtag "community over competition." It's littered all over social media, but to me, you really embody this concept. What does community over competition mean to you? And what sort of community or safe place do you hope to create for women online and in your home? 

Our God is creative and abundant. I don’t think He gave us a limited supply of creativity so, there’s no need to fear that someone else’s success is going to stifle yours. In my graduate program we discussed the quintessential leader: the servant-leader. This person is always providing the tools and resources to help others succeed at their endeavors. You are better when others around you are doing their best work.

Christ was the first servant-leader “He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up…” (1 Thess 5: 10,11). We should practice encouraging and supportive community because we all live as children of God’s abundant inheritance.

4.    In a world that encourages competition and comparison, how do you personally seek to respond in a different way? What do you do when tempted to compare or compete? How do you keep your heart in check with social media? 

Prayer. Gosh, I am human and I still get jealous. I have to pray against my jealousies and ask for a heart that can celebrate others.

Practice. Then I have to get out there and do it! The more I practice celebrating people, the easier it becomes.

Purpose. Create purpose for your time on social media by creating a mission statement. I made mine really simple: Encourage five people every time I get onto social media. It helps me stay rooted in a spirit of community and gives me some purpose for being on Instagram.

5.    Tell us about your new work guide coming out this month. Why is creating space to connect important to you and what prompted you to share? 

We all long for connection, but I think there are many of us who don’t know how to move past the surface-level of our relationships. I get it. I’ve been there and have learned a lot over the years and want to provide tips for others to experience healthy community.

My work guide “Creating Space to Connect” includes a devotional to strengthen your fellowship with the Lord; and tips to host your own event to strengthen your fellowship with other women. You can get the guide yourself here.

6. How did you personally start connecting with other women? And what did you do to engage women in your physical community? What would you suggest to other women looking for a place to connect or build community? 

I moved to Denver without knowing anyone so there was a clear need to put myself out there to find some friends. I stayed open-minded and said yes to every opportunity (I wrote about here at Radiant Magazine if you want to hear more). After about six months of some tough relationship-building work, a community started to form.

Even now, I find myself saying yes to a lot of different connecting opportunities because community holds me together. I even skype once a month with a woman entrepreneur in Canada who asked me to a cyber coffee chat. I’ve created a lot of new relationships with women I’ve never met in person but we’ve met online and continued to keep up over email, snail mail or Face Time. Women need women, ya know.

These days, I have a list of about 15 girls that I can pursue with healthy boundaries. Then, I take that list and look at my calendar to start planning out girl dates/phone calls/letters. This allows me to strengthen a few relationships rather than spreading myself too thin and have a reverse effect: spending time with lots of people but not actually experiencing connection with anyone. (I wrote about it here at Rising Tide Society for the full process). 

7. What are some daily, weekly or even monthly rhythms you put in place to help facilitate the process and journey you've been on so far? 

Daily: It’s grace. I use to be such a go-getter but now, I spend a majority of my day entertaining my son. So, I do write a list of three things I would like to get done that day. If it doesn’t happen, its ok, but the list keeps me focused.

Weekly: My time away to get work done is crucial. I often get anxiety that the sitter will cancel and I won’t be able to survive another minute at home. Silly, but true.

Also, we have a small group in our home once a week and that fills my desire for hosting, serving and helping others connect with the Lord and each other.

Monthly: I do try to create a brainstorm sesh of what to write, Instagram, and do each month. I sit down and write out a list of EVERYTHING from home projects to doctor appointments. Then I can look at the crazy long list and start plotting out when things need to get done. 

8. What does living wholeheartedly mean to you? And how have your views on this sort of lifestyle evolved over time? 

Since I am a recovering over-achiever, I use to think wholehearted living was putting all of your effort into whatever you were doing. Unfortunately, I was enslaving myself to how much I could accomplish.

Now, I think wholehearted living is knowing who God is and allowing that to bring you peace. You can still put your whole heart into what you're doing but now your heart is protected by the truth of who you are in God. I feel bolder than ever before to speak truth, to love others and to show myself grace; all because God has covered me with His love and I can rest in that.

9. Is there anyone or anything that's been inspiring you to live wholeheartedly recently? Maybe a favorite author or podcast? 

1. Author, Jennie Allen. Everything she’s written. Go, Jennie! Way to help women everywhere live in God’s truths.

2. Jen Wilkin Bible Studies. Currently doing her Abide study on 1,2,3 John and I appreciate that she really challenges me to slow down, dissect the text, and also apply it to my current circumstances.

3. The Radiant Podcast is great as it allows women to share what God has done in their life or their business. It always leaves me encouraged. 

Hey, friend! I’m Bailey T. Hurley. I’m a blogger and writer that finds inspiration through my relationships with the Lord, family, and friends. My desire is to mentor women through the written word by speaking capital ‘T’ truth into everyday realities.

When I am not writing, you can find me binge-eating popcorn or dancing around the kitchen with my son. I thrive off of good books, time with my family, adventures outside, and creatively loving others.

If you've been inspired by Bailey's words and are looking to make connections with other women in your area, visit Bailey's website and download her free work guide: Creating Space to Connect. It's the perfect resource to equip your heart and your home to make room for real community.