Even Oprah Had to Turn Some Lemons Into Lemonade

This past 4th of July weekend, I had the chance to attend ESSENCE Fest for the first time. It was down to the wire, but my flight, lodging and concert tickets all came together in the nick of time. I was steadfast and determined to attend this year and I didn’t know what to expect, but I knew the reputation would precede itself. An estimated,450,000 people were in New Orleans for the three-day event and they were in for a treat like I was. As soon as I arrived in the Big Easy, the grapevine was saying that Queen O (that’s Oprah Winfrey) would touch the ESSENCE Fest stage at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. I couldn’t believe that I would have the chance to be in the same room as the media mogul and hear her divulge life hacks and quote for me to use for added inspiration.

So there she was pacing gracefully upon the stage setting the tone for her keynote address by reciting Phenomenal Woman by the great Maya Angelou. I was in awe as I watched this pro capture her audience with every word. One thing you will always love about Oprah is her frankness and her honesty. Although this billionaire and mogul has set the standard for all of us aspiring media aficionados, she too had a past that didn’t always seem as promising. Her rise to fame encountered many lemons and she shared some of her re-defining moments with us. She’s told us about growing up in poverty, experiencing sexual abuse and losing a premature baby boy at just 14. But on the ESSENCE Fest stage, Oprah shared two major keys for me is to be intentional and to surrender to what God has planned for us.

By bsoliver

Just been blessed with a word from Oprah. She shared how she turned #lemons2lemonade by surrendering and being intentional. #goals #majorkeyalert #EssenceFest #phenomenalwoman

Just been blessed with a word from Oprah. She shared how she turned #lemons2lemonade by surrendering and being intentional. #goals #majorkeyalert #EssenceFest #phenomenalwoman

Oprah took us back to 1984 when she was the host of the TV show called AM Chicago. During that time she read The Color Purple. After reading the book she prayed that if there was a movie that she would have a part in it. Fortunately for her there a film was in the work. She received a random call from the casting director to audition for the film as Sophie. She didn’t hear back for 3 months, and the casting director gave her some unmotivating and negative feedback when she decided to follow up. She just knew she didn’t get the role, but she had a hard time letting go of the fact that the role might not be hers. Heartbroken and feeling defeated she began to pray, cry and sing to help ease the rejection that was sure to come her way.

“I tell you in my greatest testimony when in that instant I laid that thing down. When it didn’t have me anymore. It had no control of me anymore. When I let it go. When I intentionally surrender it to the powers that were greater than I could ever know, the instant that happened…Spielberg called.”

Of course, we all know that Oprah got the job and she went on to play one of America’s most memorable roles. However, the lesson from her story for me is to get out of your own way. She already let defeat take over her and almost destroy her, but when she let it go and let God, He revealed his plan for her.

“It taught me the power of surrender. When you’ve prayed, cried, stood, and tried some more, and sacrificed, and wanted, and dreamed, and held on, and believed and got turned down, and turned back and turned around. It taught me that when you have done EVERYTHING THAT YOU CAN DO, surrender it all,” Oprah said.

ESSENCE shared some of the best life hacks that Oprah revealed during ESSENCE Fest:

On the Creator’s Dream For You:
 “I am living the dream. And I want you to live the dream. I’m not living the dream because I’m special, but I was obedient to the call of the dream. I’m living in the space of the dream and the dream is good. There is a bigger dream for you. What is God’s dream for you? What does the creator’s dream hold for you?”

On the Things You Get:
 “This is what I know for sure, you don’t get what you wish for, you don’t even get what you hope for. You get what you believe.”

On Surrendering:
 “The magic is to surrender to God’s dream for you. Quit fighting and pushing against and disallowing against and stop trying to tell the Creator what you’re supposed to do. Get still and know that His dream is for you.”

On The Importance Of Your Energy:
 “The energy of what you do, what you say and the energy of who you are goes out into the world, your home and into your relationships and that energy is always coming back to you. You’re responsible for the energy you put out into the world.”

On Intentions:
 “Before you think about the thing, you have an intention about the thing. The intention in which you give determines the outcome. My intention to live to the highest calling and be pressed to the mark of the highest calling.”


Originally published at Brittney Oliver.