As some of you already know, meanwhile about ten months ago, I converted to Christianity. A change I had never, ever, ever expected myself to make in my life.
It has taken me some time to share my story, but here we go. Below are some of the milestones that led to this literal leap of faith and change of heart:
As a freedom-loving, slightly travel-addicted and soul-seeking digital nomad entrepreneur, I had spent years carving out a life I loved. Yet…
Sometimes life serves us such a surprising shift, that we’re never quite the same again
It somehow all started in January 2018.
New year, new intention.
I innocently coined my word for that year: MIRACULOUS. I was ready to take off but had no idea of the direction it was going to take.
First, I flew to Bali for a second time, and then kept on extending my stay. On the surface, my life seemed sunny. I was following my heart around the world, working from wherever and was now surrounded by sweet, hippie, happy, heartful friends, an abundance of healthy and delicious food, fun, sun, scooter, beach and palm trees. All my wish-list-items were checked off. Yet all excitement seemed to hide a sense of emptiness…which I would never admit to myself as I was supposed to be living my dream! Then it all began.
A series of synchronistic events that ended up
leading to a leap of faith.
It started on a Singapore trip when a stranger suddenly told me his story of how he had come to Christ. I listened respectfully and was touched… but soon shrugged it off. I love my “freedom lifestyle” too much to change. Christianity sounded beautiful but seemed too strict and serious for me.
The next clue came back in Bali, while I was waiting in a water temple to be spiritually ‘purified’. It was cold, crowded and I grew increasingly irritated with the loud conversations which seemed disrespectful at this sacred place. Suddenly this sense of peace washed over me. All noise dissipated and didn’t matter anymore. Then, as if to top it off, a dragonfly landed on my Balinese prayer basket and a Bible verse I had once read came back to mind:
‘And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds …’ (Philippians 4:7)
Some weeks later, on a less-than peaceful occasion, another Bible verse came into my consciousness.
This time, I was unexpectedly caught in the longest and strongest earthquake of my life, the one that had hit the neighboring island of Lombok but could be clearly felt on Bali. With all walls and even the floor shaking, there was no longer any solid foundation, everything that always seemed stable was now unreliably shaking. It began to dawn on me that the spiritual foundation I thought I had found for myself, was a façade. Again, a Bible verse came to mind, in which Jesus teaches about solid foundations:
“Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock” (Matthew 7:24)
At this point, I slowly started seeing the signs. They pointed into a direction I’d have preferred to deny. Christianity was calling. But not as the pious and preachy way of living I always thought it would be. This change was coming from the inside out.
My heart was leading me into a direction that
my mind was not yet willing to walk.
Opening my mind would mean opening the Bible. And although I resisted as long as I could, one day I ended up taking that leap of faith. And as I began reading the Bible, there was no turning back. Something had been stirred.
Page by page, my beliefs were seriously challenged and slowly changed. In my mind, the idea of God started to change from being a universal energy to a more personal (and patient) father-like figure, always there when I knock on the door and lovingly leading me. My concept of Christianity changed from following rigid religious rules to learning to live in a loving relationship with Christ and everyone else. My longing to Live in Love was changed from being a vague spiritual path to a daily process.
“The heart has its reasons which reason knows nothing of”
Whereas my heart had been doing the pioneering work, my mind was now catching up. Clarity came. A new direction. My life turned 180 degrees around: I was going to go back to my ‘home’ country, The Netherlands, where I hadn’t lived in years. I would quit working alone behind the computer and start working more with people. I would find a place of my own, perhaps even a church, etc., etc.
As simple as it had seemed, reality brought many bumps in the road and didn’t move along as swiftly and smoothly as hoped. Throughout it all though, my faith deepened, and I developed a sense of peace, trust, connection and calm happiness which I had never known but unknowingly longed for all my life.
I was coming home in every sense of the word.
For a while, I was on a spiritual honeymoon. For about three months I traded my free-spirit lifestyle for a faith-focused one, as I studied all about Christianity. I needed this deep diving, even though my family and friends were starting to slightly worry. Soon I became more balanced and am still integrating faith into my daily life. So much so, that I can now no longer imagine life without it.
As my life continued changing, so did I.
It began with remarks of those close to me who noticed more peace and stability in me, and I observed how my actions and reactions were shifting. Whereas I used to chase happiness in searching and surfing the highs of life, I now prefer peace over passion, the same goes for simplicity over status, solid foundations over facades and authenticity over approval.
There is nothing and no one that has changed me
as much and as fast as this faith
With hundreds of books, workshops, trainings and more that I have followed over the years, there is nothing that has changed me as fast, lastingly and deeply as this (leap of) faith.
This shift did have its consequences though, such as surrendering the cushy comfort zone that I had created for myself. This different direction also led to leaving behind part of my much-loved lifestyle, situations, surroundings and even people, which has been heart-breaking at times.
Yet, it also led to new people, places and a new path in life. A path that still feels like coming home, a lighter way of living and loving.
This journey has taught and is reminding me daily to keep the faith, no matter what, as Martin Luther King Jr. said: