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Viva Viola

Updated: Apr 29, 2022

Good morning. It is Wednesday, April 27, 2022. Jeanette Stark here.

I watched an interview last night with Viola Davis. Viola is an American actress. She is the first African American to achieve, what is called, the Triple Crown of Acting. She won an Academy Award; she was the first African American to win an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress and she has won two Tony Awards.

Time magazine named her one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2012 and 2017. She received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2020 and the New York Times ranked her ninth on its list of greatest actors of the 21st century.

To look at this list of accolades you would think she has “thee life!” but to hear her story, it is quite the opposite.

She grew up ‘dirt poor’. Really, poor. She was born on the Singleton Plantation in 1965. Her father was a horse trainer, and her mother was a maid and factory worker.

I won’t go into all the ordeal of her childhood, but suffice it to say she was dirty, she was called horrible names, she suffered abuse and she had zero self-confidence or self-love. And yet…she made a name for herself. By God’s grace, she was able to find a better life for herself. You can do a quick search on-line and read all about her, but I want to focus today on something she said on the interview last night.

“You know at the end of the day that's all we're trying to do. The best we can, with what we've been given, and that's it. We just don't have a face for what that looks like. I think that sometimes we watch too much TV and we want our lives to be played out the same way a 41 minute drama is played out on Thursday night lineup and it doesn't work that way!...It’s how much you're willing to accept the life that God gave you and how much bravery do you have to forge ahead and create the life that you actually want…it's like my therapist told me: that life is about two things, living a life of pleasure, happiness and joy but also the understanding that the downtime is going to come, and if you can be somewhere in the middle of that understanding, then you could say it's survivable. I say to people all the time, you find people in your life who love you and what those people do because they love you, and they love all of you even your flaws, is they gave you permission to be able to love yourself.”

Is it okay to love yourself? I would answer this way, if you can’t love yourself, how do you except anyone else to love you?

Scripture tells us we are amazing. We are miracles!

Psalm 139:14 “I will give thanks to you because I have been so amazingly and miraculously made. Your works are miraculous, and my soul is fully aware of this.” God’s Word Translation

We are walking miracles. God has given us life. The Bible tells us that He owns the cattle on a thousand hills. In other words, everything is His and He chose to allow us to share it with Him. It is up to us to find the good and to pursue it.

Proverbs 19:8 “Whoever gets sense loves his own soul; he who keeps understanding will discover good.” ESV

Not only has He allowed us to share this wonderful creation, but He set our feet on a path that He designed for us! Again, our choice to follow that plan.

“The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way;” Psalm 37:23 ESV

I think of Viola. Although her childhood was abject poverty and mostly misery, she says she would not change a thing. Why? Because it made her the woman she is today. She trusts God. She knows He gave her the strength to overcome and make a better life for herself.

I pray that you as well put your trust in God, even when you don’t see a path. Even when you are surrounded by doubt, trust Him. He loves you!

Lastly, I loved her advice regarding finding people that love you.

Surround yourself with people that love you, including your flaws. Find those people that allow you to love yourself, even when others tell you, you are unlovable. But most of all, remember Jesus loves you. God the Father loves you.

We love because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19

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