Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Oprah, Calling and Passion

Oprah Winfrey recently brought her daily TV talk show to a close after 25 years and 4,561 episodes. Can you imagine doing anything for that long (excluding stuff like eating, breathing, etc.)? If nothing else, she deserves kudos for staying power.

Admittedly, Oprah hasn’t been one of my favorites. Along with the heart-tugging moments (and there were many), she embraced the wild and weird. Her spirituality was sometimes spurious, too eclectic and politically correct. But there’s no disputing she’s become an American icon.

I wouldn’t need 10 fingers to count the number of complete “Oprah Winfrey Show” episodes I viewed. But out of curiosity I did watch her last show, just to see what she would say.

Interestingly, she actually mentioned Jesus and “amazing grace.” To clarify her spiritual beliefs, Oprah explained she believes in “THE God.” OK. But what I found most intriguing were her opening comments on “calling,” which she cited among “the lessons that have been the anchor of my life and ones I hold most precious.”

“(This show is) what I was called to do,” Oprah told her finale’s audience. “…We all are called. Everybody has a calling, and your real job in life is to figure out what that is and get about the business of doing it.”

Her guests through the years, ranging from celebrities to volunteer workers to prisoners training dogs for injured military personnel, exhibited “the juice of doing what they knew they were meant to be doing,” the media magnate declared.

“Passion…that’s what a calling is. It lights you up and lets you know you are exactly where you are supposed to be, doing exactly what you’re supposed to be doing…. You have to make a living, but you also have to know what sparks the light in you, so that you in your own way can illuminate the world.”
From my perspective, she could have stopped there and her message would have been complete. When I mentor people, we talk a lot about calling – what has God uniquely designed and equipped them to do? In Leaders Legacy, the organization I work with, we encourage people to pursue their passion – their distinctive strengths and interests that, as Oprah said, light them up. What gives them good reason for getting out of bed in the morning?

If you can align your passion and your work, that’s ideal. As someone has said, “If you love what you do, you’ll never work another day in your life.”

The Bible states it this way: “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10).

Once you’ve discovered what God has called you to do, and you have the opportunity to do it, the blessings flow.

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