Sparkles by Ashlee: faith, funny, + fulfilling dreams

Welcome to Sparkles by Ashlee, a Christian lifestyle blog over faith, funny, and fulfilling dreams. I'm Ashlee Staerk, and I'm a teenager in love with Jesus and writing stories for His glory in Iowa. Grab your fave drink (I'll take a Dr. Pepper), and peruse my blog, where I document what God is teaching me, encouragement He lays on my heart, the good and the bad in life (always keeping it real), and my journey of trusting God with my dreams!

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Living Your Faith: I Will Not Chill Out

One of my photos on Instagram was captioned something that inspired this post. I wrote the caption after dealing with the stresses of sticking up for my faith.

I said...

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Vestibulum id ligula porta felis euismod semper.
— Hope K.

Kidding, kidding. Squarespace has that as the default text when I enter a quote block haha; I thought it was appropriate.

What I really said was...

Live for God despite whatever this world says. He sent His son for you, for everyone, and we need to share that despite the consequences. He will never stop fighting for you, so don’t stop fighting for Him.
— @sparklesbyashlee photo caption from Instagram

And for more of that follow me on Instagram: @sparklesbyashlee!

Now back to the quote. Have you ever been in the situation where somebody calls you "too strong" in your faith or that you need to chill out with it? Let me tell you why that's a bunch of crap.

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In my opinion, I don't think you can live for God "too much" or be "too passionate" about him except for one thing. I don't (and neither does God) want you to shove it down people's throats. It's a choice, and unfortunately, there will be people who don't choose God. But it's not our job to change them or force them into our beliefs. We can be a light and share Jesus, but we can't shove it down their throats.

As Christians, we're going to get made fun of. To the Christians who are serious and mature in their faith, they're especially going to get it. Some common things I see being said of us are stuff like, "You're such a goody two shoes," or there are names like "prude" and what not. Then people make it seem like we're too tense and don't know how to have fun. They might say, "It's just -insert whatever- it's okay." Or they might just say, "You're really into your faith" and make fun of you for it.

Thankfully, I haven't encountered too much of this yet. I probably will, though - especially in the society we live in. I wouldn't say I haven't experienced it at all, though. I think we all know by now I don't date. This doesn't mean I will never date, but a) I am thirteen. THIRTEEN. I have one friend who doesn't think it's okay to date at our age, and literally ask every other single person in our grade, and they will be all for it. B) I haven't found the guy I want to marry yet. You're probably like, whoa, whoa, you're thirteen. And you're right. But that's the thing. Why would I date if I know I'm not going to marry any of the guys in my school?

So I think my friends have learned to stop asking me for dating advice. And sometimes they call me a "prude" because of it. It doesn't even bug me, though. If you're going to call me a prude for doing the right thing, that's your loss, not mine. That's about as bad as it's gotten so far. But now let's dive into how you should react to these other common comments of the world.

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"You're such a goody two shoes. You're a prude."

I understand these comments definitely don't feel good. It's not like I want people going around telling me this. And I understand it's even worse when your friends are doing it to make fun of you. However, these comments, for me personally, go in one ear and out the other. I honestly pity the person saying them. I'm not trying to sound like I'm better than that person - I'm not - but if you're obeying God, let Him deal with the other person. Don't get mad at them, just pray and ask God to show them the right way.

You see, it's kind of like if somebody's getting drunk and you want to stay sober. If the drunk person calls you a prude for not drinking, ummm, you're protecting yourself, aren't you? You don't have anything to lose - the drunk person does.

How to react

Let it go

I understand, though, that nobody wants to be called names. Nobody wants to be made fun of - especially when YOU'RE doing the right thing. But see, you have to remember that. If you're doing the right thing, who cares what humans think? Instead of caring about what people think, how about we start thinking about what the Creator of the universe thinks?! He will reward you for guarding your heart, for not getting drunk, for not participating in that sin your friends are doing, etc. And that's all that matters.

Which is why I let it go in one ear and out the other.

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
— Romans 8:31 NIV

Don't get angry - pray

God has been convicting me of my pride lately. I get so frustrated with people I know at school and just in my life sometimes when they don't obey God, but that is truly my pride speaking. I don't want to overlook their sin, but I also don't want to overlook mine. That's why instead of being mad that somebody hasn't figured something out, pray for them instead. I promise you there is something wrong with you that you need to fix.

Confront if needed

You don't want to think you're righteous and better than somebody, but you also don't want to totally dismiss their sin. You need to confront them, but you also need to be expecting and craving confrontation as well. Yes, you should want to be confronted because if you need to work on something, you want to know so that you can fix it. Sometimes, people won't change no matter how many times you confront them. You can be patient and keep praying, or you can distance yourself from them. Ask God to give you discernment.

Also, you can't confront somebody about every little thing. If somebody you know gossips too much and you confront them about it, it's probably not the best to go and confront them about their swearing problem the next day. Sometimes it's better to just pray for them instead of telling them every little thing wrong with them. Ask God to give you discernment. The Holy Spirit will guide you.

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"It's just this, it's okay. You don't know how to have fun."

This one hurts my heart for both the people saying it and the people who are accused of not having fun. First, I hurt for the people saying it because if that's what they truly believe, it makes me sad. God didn't come to take away our fun! He loves us so much; He just wants the best for us. And I feel for the people who are accused of it because who wants to be known as a person who isn't any fun - especially when you're actually trying to do the right thing?

Well, here's the thing. It's not just something if God commands you to steer clear of it. God wants us to have life abundantly, but we have to listen to Him. In the long run, when you do that, you'll see how it benefits you.

He replied, ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.’
— Luke 11:28
But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.
— James 1:25
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
— John 10:10 ESV
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
— Matthew 6:33 ESV

How to react

Repeat the first 3 steps we learned

1) Let it go - you do good for God, and He sees it; 2) pray - don't waste time being angry - the people participating in the sin are the ones getting hurt anyways; and 3) confront if needed - the Holy Spirit will help you. All of these require these three things. I'm also adding a fourth step that is also applicable to all of these, but I felt that it was especially necessary for this one because most of the time when we are accused of being not fun, it's for something big like drinking or not going to a party, etc.

Distance yourself from sin and temptation

And by this, I mean the people doing it. This isn't always necessary. ALL PEOPLE can fall into temptation - do not get prideful and say you won't. (In fact, usually the people who are so confident they won't are the people who do.) You can be friends with people who don't believe the same thing as you, but when they're starting to tempt you into their sin, run.

Some people are more grounded than others. That's not to say it's impossible for them to slip up or give in to sin - we all do, and we all can - but some have better self control when their friends are persuading them to take part in sin. Then there are others who don't have good self control, and they need to run. Basically, if you ever even consider participating in sin when your friend is offering, or even if you see their lifestyle and want to join in those ways, RUN! It is not something to mess around with!

This is one of those things where, again, you're going to have to use good judgement. However, if you're feeling something inside of you that is off or even hints that certain behavior or people are not okay, I would run. That's probably the Holy Spirit. Besides, I would rather run when it might've been okay versus not running and then getting tangled into sin. We're all going to sin. It's inevitable. But there's enough temptation in the world as it is. You don't need more people encouraging you to sin, too.

And here's one I want to talk about. Which, no duh. That's all I've done with the others, self.

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"You're really into your faith."

All of these responses might trigger people to say something like the above. And this one, to me, doesn't really have steps to it. I would just tell the person something along these lines.

Shouldn't I be? Seriously, Jesus went to the extremes and died for my sins when I am so undeserving, and he NEVER gives up on us! That is something to be shared, and if he can go to the extremes for us, then we need to do our part in obeying his commands and sharing him.

There are so many Christians who don't share Jesus, and I would like to know why. We don't earn our way to heaven by doing anything, and we're all sinners, but why wouldn't you want to share him? We get so wrapped up in things of this world. I'm not going to share him because I'm afraid of what they'll think of me. I'm not going to share him because I might lose my job or my dream. The list goes on.

But people, this world is fleeting, and when we die...that is what matters. This world will be destroyed, but heaven and hell are forever. And hell is a very real place. We can't save anyone, but it might be your words that prompts somebody to know Jesus, which results in them going to heaven and having an abundant life here. God will work through anybody who is willing. And too many people aren't willing because of their own selfish desires. But it's not this life that matters, it's the next one. And we have work to do.

for more info on how and why to show your faith: Show It

for more info on why it matters so much to share JesusWe Need to Stop Wasting Our Lives

for more life and faith lessons11 Things We Can Learn About Life from a Hockey Game

I cannot stress this enough. If we only knew how much it mattered now, and believe me, this is not the last you'll hear of me on the importance of sharing Jesus. In fact, it's my entire mission - being a light.

Related: Why Being a Light?

That's why I live out my faith. I have witnessed how meaningless this life is and how meaningful Jesus is. That's our purpose - to love others and share him. And that is why I will not "chill out" when it comes to sharing my faith.

So how about you? Do you need help sharing your faith?