Let me introduce Nicole Unice. I met Nicole through a mutual friend while attending a Synergy Conference (more about that later) in March. She is a petite young woman, and might I add, funny. In spite of the Orlando, Florida weather, I remember her grasping a coffee cup tightly as a fashionable scarf draped neck. She went on and on about all of the wonderful things that God was doing in her life. She was excited! Excitement is infectious. Who would have thought ten years ago that friendships would be developed over Facebook, blog posts, and twitter? Yet, here we are, and I am honored to share this interview with all of you:
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Like most women, I wear many hats (although I prefer the analogy to shoes): I wear running shoes as a mom, high heels as a speaker and counselor, and prefer bare feet as a freelance writer.
2. You blog faithfully and frequently write articles, now you have self-published a book. Throughout the publishing process, you have wrestled with identifying Nicole’s message. What are you trying to say to us?
I think our lives are our message, and as life evolves so do I. Right now, I believe God has wired me to share a message of freedom and authenticity in Christ. That means I love to help women see how scripture can bring them to a place of freedom to know themselves, know God, and embrace their unique contribution to the world.
3. What is the connection between Jonah’s story, and the title of your blog, “The Stubborn Servant”?
What’s funny is that I blogged as The Stubborn Servant well before I started the Jonah study. I didn’t even make the connection for months! I chose the name “The Stubborn Servant” because I see myself as a girl living out her identity in Christ, but often kicking against it. I’m wrestling through what it really means to live a life wholeheartedly given to God. I think Jonah was like that too.
4. What is the most important issue facing women right now?
I think this is a historically amazing time for women. Doors are opened all over the place, and we have more choices than ever. However, we also have a responsibility to understand how to use our influence–at home, at work, in ministry. We can’t do it all at once, so there’s a need to understand how and when to exercise our influence.
On a sobering note, women can also be deeply wounded by life, and I think we have a responsibility to get free of our stuff so we can offer hope in this world.
5. What is the most important issue facing the Christian community or the church?
Being sensitive to our place in the global community. I believe the body of Christ is the only place (individuals and the institution) who can offer people real healing and hope in Christ. We need to struggle together to figure out how to offer this hope and healing in all kinds of ways…mercy, aid, justice, spiritual growth. It’s a huge call but we serve a huge God. We should expect to do big things in his power. The early church did.
6. I’m a little concerned that “pay it forward” has become more of a trend or cliché, rather than the lifestyle change that is at the heart of the discussion. How do we get people to see the importance (not only the personal benefit) of reaching out to help others who are less fortunate?
This is a challenge because God works in mysterious ways. I think a person who’s doing something “good” to appear good may be surprised at how they change through the process. But for another person, they need that heart change first before they start serving.
So it’s hard to say how we help people see that. I think as individuals we need to make sure that our hearts are in the right place as we lead. When people see our passion as an outflow of our relationship with Christ, I believe it can inspire others to see that for themselves.
7. Name a person who has had tremendous impact on you as a leader? Why and how?
Both of my pastors have been instrumental in my growth as a leader. I have learned different things from each of them, from having a servant heart to teaching to leading through conflict. I am thankful for the way they’ve both invested in me for over a decade. But honestly, I mostly feel like I’m still learning how to be a leader!
8. What do you do to ensure continued growth as a leader?
I think the #1 enemy of leadership is lack of personal relationship with Christ. As a leader’s influence (and subsequent demand) rises, so does the danger of losing that intimacy and time with Christ. I am in my most dangerous place when I haven’t been committed to time alone with God, worshipping, praying, confessing…or just being with Him.
9. How can we connect with you and “The Divine Pursuit” book project through social media?
A whole bunch of ways!
#1: Head over to my blog to download or purchase the study.
#2: If you’d like to join an online group (we’ll do a community forum and a live chat Wednesday nights), add your email to the group.
#3: If you want to lead your own group, there’s also a leader’s guide available.
#4: You can join the “Fans of the Divine Pursuit” Facebook group to stay updated.
10. What impact would you like to make with this project? Why make the sacrifice?
I wanted to use this study to help people to recognize the way God is pursuing them–to change them AND to change the world. He’s not either/or on this, he’s both. The book of Jonah attests to that, and that’s the main crux of the whole study–making that real in our lives.
For me, I hope God will use my writing to impact people, and I, in turn, want to use that influence to raise awareness about serious travesties going on around our world–particularly human slavery. That’s why I’m donating all the proceeds of this project to International Justice Mission.
As far as the sacrifice, I think God needed me to learn something and I needed this much work to do it!
Also of interest:
Category: Worldview, Title: Courage to Do Justice
I invite you to connect with Nicole.