The positive-thinking TV personality, who just celebrated 10 years on the Today Show, shares who her real-life hero is, why mornings are her favorite and what she does for her spiritual well-being.
- Posted on May 20, 2021
Today show co-anchor Savannah Guthrie was more than forthcoming in responding to our questions. Her answers were inspiring.
The hardest thing you’ve ever done Law school. I left a career in television news that was going pretty well. I moved across the country. I had no money. I moved in with a group of three girls. I was in my late twenties. I didn’t know a soul. I started over in every way it is possible to start over, and then I faced the greatest intellectual challenge I could have faced in terms of learning this incredibly difficult subject matter.
Best advice you’ve ever gotten A professor friend told me, “Savannah, think big!” That resonated with me when I was thinking about going to law school and torn about whether I should leave my career in television early on. He said, “Don’t think of all the reasons why you can’t do something; don’t make your goals small. Think big. Go ahead and imagine you could achieve your big dream.”
At that point, I wouldn’t even have admitted to myself what my goal or my dream was, and when he said that it gave me permission to utter it to myself. Doing that helped me know which step to take. If you don’t know where you’re headed, if you can’t admit to yourself what your destination is, how do you even know what the first step is?
Favorite Bible verse Psalm 23 lives in me. My cousin gave me this verse when I was a little girl and told me to memorize it. I have recited it to myself thousands of times and reflected on it morning, noon and night. And lately it’s a verse from Zephaniah: “The Lord your God is with you, the mighty warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”
My daughter is six and a half with a phenomenal memory. I told her, “I think this is your verse, and I think you can memorize it.” I love the verse because it’s a moment in which you allow yourself to just soak in and remain in God’s love. That’s so powerful. When you feel beloved and delighted in and rejoiced over, how can you do anything but go out into the world and spread that around? It’s the kind of verse that’s deeply fulfilling and nurturing and nourishing, but it also has an amazing and immediate effect in the world around you.
Go-to place to pray I’m always praying in some sense, always in a conversation with God. Lately it’s in the back of the car on the way to work. I pray at night before I fall asleep. At a different time in my life [while going to law school and freelance reporting], I would wake up early, sit in my dad’s old green leather chair, have my coffee with my Bible and my journal and spend a few moments in reflection and prayer. I don’t have that anymore because I get up so early. I’m not getting up one minute earlier! But I need to find moments that are very intentional to do that. God is good and finds me where I am.
Real-life hero My mom. Because of her strength. She has this inner nobility and integrity. She’s just so rock-solid. When your mom is so strong and seemingly certain, it is a great comfort as a child. I’m not going to say I never rebelled or that maybe there weren’t times I wished she were a little more warm and fuzzy. But she is selfless and full of integrity and has been my inspiration and my north star. And she still is.
What you do for your spiritual well-being I listen to hymns. I’ve made a playlist of old hymns that I grew up with, including “How Great Thou Art” and “Great Is Thy Faithfulness.” And my church, Good Shepherd in New York, has a group of musicians from across the country doing music on Spotify.
I’m a big believer that God speaks our language. He comes to us in a way that is unique to us that we understand; for me, music is a language. In a distracting world, it’s sometimes as simple as putting on your headphones and listening to a hymn you love. I think God is very generous and uses whatever we are able to offer in terms of our time and attention. He meets us right where we are.
Favorite comfort food Above all, pizza. Every Friday night, we order pizza. It’s so much a part of our family that I did one of those invitations on my husband’s Outlook calendar and mine too. There’s an alert that pops up and says, “Order Pizza” every Friday afternoon. Pizza is extremely important.
Early riser or night owl? Early riser—even without this job. I hate staying up late. New Year’s Eve is the hardest night of the year for me. Staying up till midnight is almost painful. I just love morning. Everything seems possible. It’s quiet. I love a good cup of coffee. I love the light streaming in the window. I love a new day stretching out in front of me. There’s the verse “His mercies are new every morning.” I feel that.
One thing about you that people would find surprising I don’t know because I feel like I’m kind of an open book. I think sometimes people are surprised that my faith means so much to me. But I think that’s less and less true because I’ve talked about it publicly a bunch. If I’m asked, I talk about it. So I think that’s less surprising than it used to be.
One question you wish an interviewer would ask I love talking about my faith. I love talking about God’s love. I love talking about how we all struggle and are on this journey together. So you could write that the one thing I wish I got to talk about more is the thing that we’ve talked about for this entire interview. And that’s the truth. So thank you!
For more inspiring stories, subscribe to Guideposts magazine.