Nicky de Koning

A Leap of Faith – From Comfort to Christianity

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”
-Blaise Pascal

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:

Creating Change

The 5 Stages of Creating Change

Creating Change

There are phases in our lives that are quite difficult at the time, but offer the most powerful potential to change ourselves and our lives for the better. We may not be able to see it in the moment, but when we look back, we’ll find ourselves transformed.

Often though, when we are in the middle of those situations, it seems as though we are sensing our way through the dark towards, to find the light at the end of the tunnel. It helps to have some orientation during those times.

That’s why my intention is to create a little map with these 5 stages, so that the next time you find yourself in the dark, you can shed some light on the situation by remembering the stage you’re in and where it’s leading you towards.

 

                    Stage 1. Completion                                 

In this first stage of creating change, you will probably notice something itching inside of you. This project, person or part of your life that once meant the world to you (and that you may still love a lot) for some reason doesn’t seem to fit and flow and feel good as it used to anymore.

Some discernment is needed here, because this could also point towards the possibility of opening up to a deeper level of connection, commitment or communication.

What I am speaking of here though, is that moment when you realise that you have tried everything you could think of… you’ve been coached, you’ve communicated, you’ve cried your heart out and you’ve reflected, read or written pages about it. You’ve really made an effort. But the situation still does not change. Something just doesn’t sit right, anymore.

Perhaps the other person has changed, or you have changed over the course of time. Perhaps your priorities have changed. Perhaps all parties have learned their lessons and are now ready to move on.

“There comes a point when you just know, the time has come for you to go”
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                              Stage 2. Clearing                                

This is usually when you enter the next phase, when it seems as though the truth is starting to slowly sink in. This project, person, part of your life is indeed coming to an end. And it hurts. A lot. Tears may flow. Lots of them. And it’s actually good. Because in this phase you have the potential to heal a lot of pain, perhaps even beyond this situation as far as childhood hurts, which in turns helps to

“The more you manage to fully feel, the faster you will finally heal”
Tweet:

When it comes to feeling and healing, here is a helpful blog post that goes into more detail about embracing your emotions and healing the deeper layers. Because this is a healing process. Goodbyes can bring grief. Whether it’s a lot or a little, a part of your heart feels shattered. Grief has its own five stages as well, which you can google en masse online. The most important part, is to be there for your heart. It’s hurting. And the more love you manage to give it, the more safe it will feel, and the faster it will hear.

So cry if you need to, slam a pillow if you need to, fill as many journal pages as you need, or book a coaching session if you need support. Do all you can to get the old energy out of your system. It will hurt, but it will help to heal.

This may also include physical clearing, this may mean that you clear out your house or computer of memories, clear your desk at work if you are changing jobs, or clear the belongings of a loved one, or yourself,  if your were living together in a relationship. This can be a heart-breaking part of the change cycle, but it does become better as it leads towards…

 

                              Stage 3. Clarity                                    

At some point, there are no more tears to cry, our inner and outer space have been cleaned and cleared. This is when we slowly start to see straight again. The clouds of emotions that had covered our hearts are slowly lifting, a little like in the song ‘I can see clearly now’. We start seeing the situation with new eyes, we may even begin to become hopeful that perhaps, this ending was for the best and brings a new beginning indeed.

“When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us”
~Helen Keller

In this phase of Clarity, we now start to become aware of new possibilities that we couldn’t see before. We may receive insights, inspirations and ideas… which lead us up to to the next phase.

                               Stage 4. Commitment                     

During the last stage, it was as though we were standing high on a mountain, overlooking our lives and seeing the possibilities. Now in this stage we have the chance to put this new potential to practice.

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth
the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans:
that the moment one definitely commits oneself,
then providence moves too”
~William H. Murray

Will we enter this new relationship, job, collaboration or project that we’ve been playing with in our mind up until now? When we take the idea out of our mind and bring it into the world, we move from an  inspired idea to initiating action, we make a commitment.

When we do, we have this special magic of new beginnings, things seem to flow and we move forward with excitement and ease. Creativity, courage and creation abound at this stage. We seem to experience synchronicity and life seems to love us and laugh with us. Paolo Coelho calls it ‘beginners luck’ in his beautiful book ‘The Alchemist’. A reward for the many tears of the last stage.

                        Stage 5. Consistency                              

Once we have made the decision to walk into this new direction, no matter whether we have taken our first steps or are well on our way, we soon realise that…

“With every project that we start, at some point things tend to get hard”
Tweet: With every project that we start, at some point things tend to get hard.

At that point, we can either decide to ‘never mind’ and give up, or we can choose to ‘never quit’ and do what it takes to keep going and growing.

This stage holds a powerful potential for growth. Because where before we might have avoided that difficult talk, that deeper level of vulnerability or that dive of going ‘all-in’.

Each commitment brings a lesson, and after we have said yes to it, we will most like be tested or tempted along the way, will we leave or will we stay? Sometimes the lesson can be to have the courage to actually leave (phase #1) and at other times, the lesson will require us to stay and move through the challenges that may arise along the way.

“Consistency means saying Yes to your commitment- again and again
Tweet: Consistently basically means saying Yes to your commitment, again and again

When we decide to learn the lesson and put it into practice, we show that we are serious, we show that we are committed on a consistent basis. The roots or our relationship to the person or project we’ve committed to will grow deeper and deeper until the first sapling starts to appear and turn into the most beautiful flower.

         Transformation At The End Of The Tunnel        

This is usually when we really see the transformation we have gone and grown through. We are at times actually grateful that this situation that we were so heart-broken about, has ended. Since it led us to this beautiful new phase or place in our lives.

 

How About You?

Do you recognize and relate to these 5 stages? If so, which stage are you in right now? Love to hear in the comments below

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Ignite Your Inner Fire!

I have a question for you: if you knew you had a fire burning inside of you… what would that look like at this moment? You can even close your eyes as you determine its state: Is it burning bright, peacefully alight, perhaps a flickering flame, or is it even about to burn out?

Now that you are aware of the state of this inner flame, you have taken the first step towards a more empowered way of going about your day.

Staying aware of the state of your inner fire  connects you to your personal source of power and passion.

Your inner fire is your most valuable source of energy, passion, and fulfillment. It is the resource, the fuel, that allows you to breathe life into your dreams and desires. Your inner fire enables you to:

  • Stay motivated, inspired and passionate to work each day on the goals of your soul,
  • Rise above the voices inside of your head that may try and convince you to give up, that everyone else is better, that you’re not worth it, or whatever else it tells you.
  • Spark your heart, allowing you to share the warmth and love with those close to you.

When you Inner Fire burns brighter than your doubts or fears, criticism or judgment, you have a secret source of energy to sustain you.

The beautiful thing is: it’s all inside of you! It’s literally in your own hands to rub the wooden sticks that re-ignite your inner flame. You are the one who can add some paper or even a log of wood to rekindle your fire. Of course it is always nice when someone else fans your flames, as Rumi’s quote below says, but in the end, you are the one who needs to guard that fire inside your heart.

Sometimes it means that you need to:

  • Rekindle Your Flame = Taking a break from everything to bring the warmth of your attention onto yourself.
  • Feed Your Fire = This is the most important task we have. Just like we would regularly add wood to a fire, we too need to regularly feed ourselves with nourishing activities and people to keep our inner fire burning brightly.
  • Guard Your Fire = Setting boundaries with people and projects so that they don’t overload and suffocate your inner fire.
  • Blow Your Fire Back On = Sometimes our daily doings prevent us from tending to our fire in the way we need to, for a longer period of time. The flame might start to flicker… or even extinguish. In these cases we need some soul s.o.s! In order to blow back life into ourselves and our fire, we need to take a break and breathe… reconnect to that inner source inside, which eventually sparks the flame again.

Only You Can Guard The Flame and Feed The Fire Inside Of Your Heart.

Now that you’re once again aware of the importance of tending to your inner flame, what one thing will you today to add some fuel to your inner fire? Welcome to share in the comments!

 

Getting Back On Track After a Slack [Vlog]

 

The new is ready to unfold,
deep dreams that can come true
surrender what you were once told
to believe and receive what’s due.

Sometimes in life there are moments when you know it’s time to draw a line in the sand. You may have outgrown behaviors, patterns, situations or even friendships…. and it’s often not until we close the door to the old, that the new can enter in, so that you can:.

  • take (renewed) ownership of your life and create or update the vision for your life
  • take on new projects and make plans for the upcoming quarter of this year
  • take action towards the goals that stir your souls

Recently I was reminded how each day is a unique chance to make the best of the life we’ve been given, move towards our dearest dreams as we share and shine our brightest light. Brilliance is always a choice away, a constant one though, and it takes some commitment. As Aristotle apparently said ‘excellence then is not an act, it’s a habit’.

Success, happiness and high vibes come from
a series of selected actions that turn into habits with time.

For instance, it may seem now as though 10 minutes of movement a day is nothing, but as it adds up, and we will soon notice that we are indeed becoming more fit, energetic and in shape.

We can either wait for the perfect moment, or we can create that perfect moment and decide right now to get back on track after a slack. And if you’d like some inspiration and 3 simple steps to get started with that, then have a look at the short, simple, soulful vlog above (with some roosters crowing in the background for that special Bali vibe).

And if you care to share, I’d love to hear about your soul goal and one new habit you could start in order to move towards it. Welcome to share in the comments underneath this post!

ARE YOU READY TO MAKE A NEW BEGINNING IN YOUR LIFE?

If you want to use the current momentum, I would love to support you in bringing your new Vision to Visibility in your Business or Life:

Vision to Visibility

 Business Coaching and Consulting to share yourself and your services from your soul and attract amazing  clients.

Light Up Your Life
Life Coaching to shine light on areas of your life where you are ready to take a leap and create a  life you love! 

Either way, wishing you a beautiful rest of your day!

With Love,
Nicky

Learning the Languages of Love [+Vlog]

Do you know how you express your love? And how you need to be loved?

This past week or so, I have picked up the habit of listening to an audiobook about 20-30min each morning while preparing myself for the day. So. Good. This past week, I listened to a book which I’d been wanting to read for ages: the 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. The book is such an eye- and heart-opener, which is why I’ve chosen to share about it in this week’s blog article and the video below.

The Five Love Languages                       

In the book, Gary Chapman, describes how we all have our preferred ‘love language’, a unique way in which we are most ‘effectively’ loved. When we are loved in this way, we flower, we feel alive, we thrive… because our ‘love tanks’ are filled.

Author and counsellor Gary Chapman states that we all have a primary love language, in other words, a way in which love is best received. When someone expresses their love to us this way, our love tank get filled and love blossoms between the two of you. When both individuals speak different love languages though, it can create many miscommunications and difficulties in relationships.

The book focuses on marriage, because the author observed that once a couple got  got married or beyond the ‘in love’ stage, that’s when trouble in paradise would often arise. But it may as well be for any type of meaningful connection that you have in your life. Because as you grow closer to another person, you inevitably start seeing things that weren’t visible from a distance. You then have the choice to communicate about it, or distance yourself again. Each time you choose to communicate, it’s as though you sink a level deeper in the connection and both persons, as well as the relationship grow deeper, instead of growing apart.

So what are the five love languages? The author and experienced counselor Gary Chapman, has defined the following five expressions of love:

5 love languages

Below is a summary of all five love languages, ending with ways to discover your own.

Love Language #1 – Words of Affirmation            

You know that feeling when you receive a compliment from someone you love, right? It can make you feel approved, appreciated, attractive, as well as warm and fuzzy on the inside. “One kind word can change someone’s entire day”.

Words are powerful, and even more so when your loved one’s primary love language is ‘Words of Affirmation’. Being aware of this, you now have the key that unlocks the heart of the other person. With this key in your hand though, also comes a sense of responsibility, because those who have this primary love language are most deeply hurt by words of criticism, anger or lack of encouragement.

That said, you can get started with a sincere compliment, expressing your appreciation for something they did or who they are, simply saying that you are grateful to have them in your life… You might find that often you already think these things inside of your head, but do you actually express them? This can make all the difference.

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Love Language #2 – Acts of Service                  

Did you ever think about simple activities, such as doing the dishes, taking out the trash, cooking dinner or doing the laundry, as expressions of love? Well, for the person whose primary love language is ‘Acts of Service’ these are some of the most heart-warming things you could do.

The native speaker of this love language feels most loved when you actually do things for them. You can say you love them in all ways you can think of, and it’s beautiful, but it just doesn’t bring the message across as strongly as when you actually do something for them.

Love Language #3 – Receiving Gifts                  

The third Love Language is about receiving gifts. And no worries, if this is your primary love language it doesn’t mean that you are superficial! It just means that you get excited and feel loved by the idea of someone thinking of you throughout the day and actually making the effort to express that with a gift. You can feel the love that is shared behind the gift, and this fills up your love tank.

The way to communicate your love with someone who has this primary love language, is as you might think, by regularly giving this person a gift. It doesn’t have to be an expensive one, it could even be hand-made or free. Whether you buy a piece of jewellery or pick up flowers or bring a shell from the beach, it’s the thought behind it that counts.

Love Language #4 – Quality Time                     

This love language is all about expressing your love by spending time with someone. And not just sitting next to each other and staring at a screen (whether it’s your phone or the TV) which can be cosy as well, but this is about being really present with the other person. No phones, no other people, no distractions or worries about work.

At times this may mean going somewhere together, whether it’s a (road) trip or a dinner at a restaurant, the important thing is to be fully present with the other person, for instance by asking eachother questions and really listening to the answers.

There is this video that tells the heart-touching story of a little boy and his father (I won’t say more because I don’t want to spoil the plot, but I can say it has me in tears ever single time)

Love Language #5 – Physical Touch                

Most of us know about the importance of physical touch, it creates all sorts of positive emotions and hormones, and as babies we actually need physical contact in order to survive. We all know how a hug can say ‘I care about you’ or ‘I love you’ more than anything else.

When it comes to those individuals whose love language is physical touch, these effects are meaningfully multiplied. You can literally see these persons flower and come alive as they are loved in this way.

There are so many different types of touch, such as a hug, a hand on someone’s shoulder, a gentle neck massage, holding someone’s hand. They may seem casual to some, but to natives of this love language, it communicates love more than a thousand words could.

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Becoming Fluent In the Language of Love                            

Learning the language of your romantic partner, or basically any (loved) one that you regularly connect with, is one of the most mutually fulfilling tasks that you can undertake.

Similar to learning a foreign language, as your skills start to improve, you finally feel that you are able to communicate on a deeper level, you experience a sense of belonging and you create genuine connection. The person whose language you are learning on the other hand feels as though they matter to you, they feel understood and loved.

Listening to this book, I wish I would have known about this before! It clarifies how on the surface misunderstandings arise, even though underneath it all you feel deep love. You have been feeling unloved when it turns out that the other person was simply speaking a love language or dialect that you didn’t understand and thus didn’t interpret as love.

But thankfully there is divine timing and “it’s never too late to change your luck”. If you believe in that too, I hope you enjoyed learning a little more about the love languages, and perhaps even reading the book if you choose to do so. It’s love-changing for sure.

“The best thing we can do with the failures of the past is to let them be history”
-Gary Chapman

How About You?                                       

How has reading this blog article made you feel? Did you get any insights about your own love language or that of a loved one? If you want to dive deeper, you can take the free test on the official website: www.5lovelanguages.com. And if you want inspiration on ways to express your love in the different languages, see this chart below:

                           Your Next Step In Love                             

Now that you are more aware of your primary love language and perhaps also that of an important person in your life. How can you put this knowledge into practice? It can also be to simply watch the accompanying video above.

It would be great to hear your first step in the comments below, and as always, sending you much love.