As a future media maven, I’ve always admired Oprah Winfrey for her hustle as a media powerhouse. From her extremely humble beginnings and challenges as a young girl in rural Mississippi to her massive influence on television, film, radio and print, Oprah’s rise to the top has been nothing less than influential. Oprah’s work ethic has always been my favorite quality about her. However, it has now been bumped down to second. Why? Well, I discovered an extremely important lifestyle detail that we both have in common.
I am a young woman who is a firm believer in Jesus Christ. I attribute all of my success to the work of God and His instruction over my life. I try my best to base all decisions, minor and major, on His leading. Recently, I picked up a copy of the AARP Bulletin which profiled Oprah on the cover. The title read, “Finding Your Spirituality. Oprah Joins Americans Over 50 On a Search for Meaning”. (Don’t ask me why I have access to an AARP publication when I’m nowhere near senior citizen age… it just happened!) Seeing “Oprah” and “spirituality” in the same context flared my senses immediately. Prior to seeing this cover, I noticed on Twitter that Oprah had been tweeting various 30-second clips discussing what she believes spiritually. One of those things being prayer. I would retweet the videos, but I never took the time to dig deeper and see what they were really all about.
After reading the article, I finally discovered the purpose of the videos. Oprah created a seven-part series for OWN, entitled, Belief. The series is described as “an effort to connect the dots of every heart’s yearning for something greater than ourselves.” Something greater than ourselves being a higher source. The most intriguing part of it all is that it is not following Christians only, but it will give Americans a glimpse into the lifestyles of those who have different religious and spiritual practices. The main focus is to discover a spiritual connection among a variety of people.
“Although they might have a different word for the yearning of the heart and the yearning of the spirit that is looking for what I call “God”, it is still the same thing. It’s the heart’s yearning to know the origin of its mystery,” she said.
In the interview with AARP, Oprah explained that she has always been spiritual being that she was raised by her grandmother who was deeply rooted in the Baptist Church. I loved how she mentioned that once she was baptized that she was “on fire” or, extremely enthused about being a follower of Christ. “I was a zealot who irritated every one of my third-grade friends. They didn’t beat me up, but I got labeled “the preacher girl,” she shared. I appreciated reading that so much because it reminded me of myself. Although I’ve dealt a lot with being up and down when it comes to my relationship with Christ, when I’m about it, there’s no stopping me. I’m sure that I’ve annoyed many people in my day with my endless talk about God and the Bible. I’ve come to realize that’s just who I was made to be… a zealous “preacher girl”.
But, what really made my heart skip at least three beats, was the fact that Oprah attributed the success of OWN to God’s instruction. In 2011, Oprah made the conscious decision to walk away from her beyond successful talk show to take on a new endeavor. That being the creation of a huge project, The Oprah Winfrey Network. When OWN made its debut in 2011, the reception was nothing that Oprah had expected. For a long time it was difficult to keep the network above water due to its low viewership. “Every story about OWN was that it was struggling,” Oprah told AARP. Sometimes when our backs are against the wall and the pressure is just about too much for us to bare, we get to the point where seeking refuge in who or what we believe is mandatory. Oprah said she had her “come to Jesus moment” when she found herself asking God what was it that He wanted her to do. As she sought God’s counsel and listened to her spirit, she was able to make changes that led to consistently higher ratings for the network. I don’t know about you, but that is powerful!
Oprah’s story brings to mind one of the most important verses (in my opinion) in the book of Proverbs:
“There is a way that seems right to man, but its end is the way of death.” Proverbs 14:12
When I think of Oprah’s testimony as it relates to this verse, and even my own life, I see that if she had continued trying to do things within her own human reasoning and left consulting God completely out of it, her network just may have failed. For believers in Christ, we know that God’s ways and thoughts are higher than ours. We know that although we may seem to be the wisest of the wise to others, God is still extremely ahead of the game. When things get tough, it would actually be foolish as believers to not consult Him.
Oprah, one of the most successful Black women to ever step foot on the Earth got down on her knees to pray to God for guidance. Even those who look to have it all and know it all still need guidance, too. What makes this even more powerful is that she did not ask Him to do anything for her, but rather she made herself available to do whatever He wanted of her. Because of her obedience, she can enjoy the positive direction of her network. For me, this shows that no matter how much success and fame you attain, you will always need God.
Oprah shared that she gets down on her knees to pray every night. She sees kneeling as an act of reverence to God. It’s so amazing.
It excites my spirit to see that one of the women whom I’ve always admired lives her spiritual life similar to mine. Her testimony gives me hope that if I seek God’s direction in everything, that I will be successful according to His will for my life. It teaches me that no one is “too good” or too high up to not pray. If Oprah does it, then we all should as well.