The Nagging Nudge

by Dr. Katherine Hutchinson-Hayes


“This is what the Lord says—your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; ‘I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go’”

(Isaiah 48:17, NIV).


In my senior year of high school, the English department chair arranged a meeting with my instructors. Believing I was a gifted writer, they encouraged me to pursue a writing career. Though flattered and excited, I left the meeting confused.  I loved writing, but becoming a doctor was my goal.


As a pre-med student, I focused on finishing my undergrad degree and attending medical school. Halfway through the program, the university lost its accreditation in my major. I stood at a crossroads because I would either have to switch my major or change schools. Again, I was asked to a meeting by the English department chair and invited to pursue journalism. The timing of the invitation convinced me I should become a journalist instead.


After graduation, I worked for several publications but still struggled to find consistent journalism work that would pay all the bills. I subsidized my income by substitute teaching. I fell in love with the profession and went on to become a teacher, principal, and doctor of educational supervision and leadership.


Despite a rewarding career in education, I’d felt something missing. Again, the call to write nudged me. I began writing columns for a local magazine and eventually became an associate editor while working as a school administrator.


Suffering a brain hemorrhage after the birth of my last child caused me to leave the principalship temporarily. When the time came to return, I felt a nagging nudge from God to use my words to know him and make him known to others. I kept pushing my return date further back to tackle various writing projects. Soon, assignments pivoted me to full-time writing. Instead of a department chair or an English instructor encouraging me to write, I felt God nudging me to answer the call to write for his glory.


When we practice being sensitive to the nagging nudge, we become adept at figuring out the difference between our desires and God’s plans for us. We grow closer to him and develop opportunities to work in the area of our gift.  By reading the word of God and spending time in prayer we stay tuned in to God’s voice. When we practice insensitivity to the nagging nudge, God’s voice dulls into the backdrop of life’s cares until we can no longer distinguish the sound from our daily distractions and duties. The consequence is we miss our calling and are susceptible to falls in our faith. We miss opportunities to deepen our faith, grow closer to God, and use our words to help others grow closer to him.


Dear Lord, help me to discern your voice in the area of my gift. Allow me to use my words to glorify you. Amen.



Katherine is a counselor, consultant, author, and owns an event-planning business. Her  art and writing are distinguished by awards including the New York Mayor’s Contribution to the Arts, Outstanding Resident Artist of Arizona, and Foundations Awards at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writer’s Conference.  Katherine loves speaking to groups, delivering messages with quick wit and real-life stories. Connect at or

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