Four years ago, out of nowhere, I became very bored at work. This really bothered me. I couldn’t believe it because I’d been so committed and passionate about my work as a director of nursing for the 20 years prior to that. Being 46 years old, I wasn’t sure what I should do. I got paid great and thought I should just make do. But ignoring the unease unsettled me—until the day that I finally decided to ask God.
Until that point, I was living a perfectly fine life. I had a happy marriage, two wonderful girls, and a great job. I knew God and would definitely say I loved him, but I was not in a habit of walking with him. I hadn’t ever proactively reached out to God; I only used him when I was in a jam.
Things changed when I decided to talk to God about my career. I’ll put it this way: Be careful what you pray for.
I told God that I really just wanted to know, with all my heart, what he wanted me to do. And he told me—piece by piece, step by step, whisper by whisper.
The first step? God nudged me to get a life coach certification.
As I worked on my coaching certification, I was seeing crazy results in my clients’ lives. Marriages plagued by infidelity and deceit were being restored. Crippling anxiety was wiped away. Folks were getting purpose and direction, energy and fulfillment they’d never known. And it was all happening as they learned the same things I was learning: Where were they with God? Did they know all he had to offer? Did they dare want to use it?
God was using this path I’d been on—getting God-partnered—to help them. By January, I had established a faith-based coaching practice to help folks learn to lean on God for positive life transformation.
I was blogging regularly and crossed paths with a publisher who asked if I’d be interested in writing a book about my journey. This time, I knew to go straight to God first. To my surprise, God said yes. It was surprising because I could hardly read until age 12 or 13—no exaggeration—because I was dyslexic. But God affirmed to me that with him, I was more than enough.
So, I filled out the author application. And, because of prompting from God, I had in mind the structure for four books. I was thinking how crazy it would be to write one book, and now I was typing in this author application that there would be four.
I finally quit my job as director of nursing, just after my first book was published. I also joined a leadership collaborative through the Reformed Church in America—a small group of women committed to developing their leadership gifts—which helped me boldly move forward with God. And, at the same, my pastor, Tim Breen, was preaching unbelievably powerful sermons that were nudging me to follow God.
[Learn more about women’s leadership collaboratives and how you can grow your gifts.]
VoiceAmerica, which broadcasts internet talk radio to millions of listeners internationally, heard a local weekly radio show I had been hosting and asked me to do a pilot for their network. This was too great for my human brain to believe. I turned them down. But, praise the Lord, he’d taught me to not rely on my brain alone.
The morning after I’d said no, God woke me up with Liz Testa on my mind. (I knew Liz through her role as on staff with the Reformed Church in America.) I ignored it. Then as I was getting ready, she popped into my head again. So I stopped and asked God if he was trying to tell me something.
Yep. Again. Call Liz.
Ha—it went to voicemail. She would be out for a few days. Perfect, I thought, I must have understood God wrong. But I went to put my phone down and heard, Call Lesley. Lesley Mazzotta, who led the leadership collaborative.
So I called her. I didn’t even know what to say, so I told her everything. She said, “Niccie, I think you need to act on this. This is something your church would support you through. Did you tell Pastor Tim about the opportunity?” Eek, no. I hadn’t, and I wasn’t used to relying on others. I was just learning to call on God, and now God was teaching me to turn to wise counsel.
With support from my church, my classis, Liz, and Lesley, my proposal was accepted. Since then, I’ve hosted a weekly radio show. With all sincerity, I believe that “my” radio spot is God’s. It’s his message that’s going out to thousands of listeners.
By now, I was learning to go to God right away. When I was nominated to be an elder at my church, I sought God’s leading. And I didn’t hesitate or question his nudging to accept. If ever there was a time for God to have me in the role as elder, it was now. He had used the leadership collaborative, Pastor Tim, Lesley, and Liz to prepare me for this role. And he is with me. I have such a heart for doing this well.
Spring 2019 and beyond
Book two and a related television show are in the works. Once again, God has flung open doors. Once again, I am battling self-limiting thoughts that I more quickly recognize as the enemy’s voice, so I instead run through God’s doors.
I have no idea where this may lead, but I do not care anymore. I simply call on God for direction, listen to his nudges, step out in blind faith, and learn from anything I can.
In the past two and a half years, I’ve quit my director of nursing job, been certified as a life coach, published a book, founded a coaching business, started a syndicated talk radio show, and recently started shooting a pilot for a television show.
It actually seems a bit too much as I am typing it all out. Believe me, I’m as normal as they come. Sometimes I wonder why on earth God is working so closely with me.
But the truth is that he is waiting to work with each of us—wholeheartedly. I see God do amazingly loving work in everyday people, just like you and me, whom I coach time and time again. I actually think we barely touch the plans God has for us (Jeremiah 29:11).
I encourage you to reach out in faith. Let God be your loving compass, Jesus be your rock, and the Holy Spirit be your guide. Put away your agenda and partner up with God’s. The more we seek God’s voice, the easier it becomes to hear and know.
If you need help, reach out to your church or friends, and seek their wise counsel. I wouldn’t have listened to God’s voice or noticed the ways he was moving without the help of Pastor Tim, Liz, and Lesley. I mention them because I think we forget to look back and see how God has moved, who he has used to move us, and just how much he is doing in our lives when we are completely unaware. We often think we got lucky or squeaked by or have the right connections, but all that does is rob God of the glory he deserves.
It is God who is nudging, stirring, and directing us all.
Struggling to hear God’s voice? Try listening prayer.
Listening prayer may help you quiet the noise in your life so that you can hear what God is saying to you.