Today we continue with Intentionality Spotlight! Similar to Women of Intention, different bloggers will be featured in an interview style. Unlike Women of Intention, the focus will be more on their blogs themselves, as well as an area of intentionality in their life.
I am excited to invite Callie of Worried Sapling to talk with us today.
First some easy stuff: Tell us a bit about yourself. What is your work, passions, and interests?
I’m Callie, an English teacher, graduate student, rambler, jogger, and reader. I’m passionate about all things English-related (including English Language Learner education!), learning to be passionate about healthful living, and uh…an overly detailed long list of over things. I’m intensely interested in blessing others in tangible ways, too. I think Jesus has given me gifts in writing, speaking, and teaching, so I try to use those often!
I'm so glad you started a blog so I can enjoy your writing regularly! How did you come to begin Worried Sapling, and what is your goal for it as a blog? Did you always intend this to be your blog’s focus?
Well, thanks! I have General Anxiety Disorder with Panic, and I could never find balanced resources on it—I either needed to meditate and take lots of medication, or I just needed to “pray it away.” Though all three of those options can be part of the answer, I don’t feel like it answers it completely. I believe the Bible holds the answers to many anxieties because I’ve found much of my anxiety is rooted in unhealthy thinking patterns.
People with mental illnesses are largely overlooked and marginalized within the Christian context, and I think this has a lot to do with ignorance and fear. In Worried Sapling, I try to show the vulnerable side of anxiety while also explaining my experience so people can grasp it. There are a lot of devotionals, too, and principles of healthy relationships; relationships are a huge source of anxiety for me, so it goes along with the overall theme.
I wanted to write a book before a blog occurred to me (still working on that book…). I was actually going to make a teacher blog; but once I started framing my content, I realized it was overwhelmingly anxiety and mental health related. After my initial launch, I was overwhelmed with the positive response I received by both people with anxiety and those without it! I was not expecting that. I thought only my mom would read it (haha!). I’m just thankful that my ramblings have blessed people.
I love how you write so passionately and intentionally about your faith and the lessons you learn from everyday life. How do you draw parallels from your life into spiritual lessons? Does this come easily to you, or did it/does it take practice?
Honestly, it comes pretty easy to me. I see life through a filter of patterns and principles, and the blog posts generally reflect that. I’m a sucker for object lessons, parables, parallels, and “moral of the story.” It’s definitely become easier with practice, though, and I notice that I start to lose the filter when I’m not writing as regularly. But in general, I just live life, talk to Jesus about the life, and principles and patterns emerge through prayerful reflection. The hardest part is writing it down. Anxiety makes it hard to be productive (actually working on a blog post about that right now!)
What is one specific area in your life you find that intentionality is critical? How do you exercise mindfulness in it?
HEALTH. Mental, physical, spiritual, social, emotional…all of it. I exercise intentionality, especially in physical and mental health. When I’m not physically healthy—regularly exercising, eating balanced meals, sleeping 8 hours, and drinking mucha agua—my mental health deteriorates, and then everything is thrown. It’s as predictable as the sunrise. I also need intentional mental space for myself: silent, alone time, time to read, time to write, time to breathe. Without these two, I can get nothing done. Having GAD, I still have anxiety attacks sometimes, but they are largely managed by self-care and prayer.
If you could give one piece of advice about this to someone who struggles with it, what would you tell them?
"The reason you feel so awful is because you need to fuel and move your body." I laugh at myself thinking of how terribly I was treating my body and yet wondering why I felt tired, irritable, and just…awful. Oh, man. Praise God for healthy living. But this affected my anxiety so much, too! Everyone’s anxiety is different and requires different solutions, but mine is deeply rooted in intentionally taking care of myself.