by Meg Dendler
“Taking Talk Higher” is the motto of Deborah Interviews, which premiered on PAX Network November 3, 2003. With a talk show format, Deborah Robinson discusses with guests their connection to the divine and how it governs their lives. She also shares her inspirations in Journey to Purpose: 31 Days of Faith Declarations. (See link below.)
spirituality.com recently spoke with Deborah about the show, her life and how she hopes to help others reconnect with God.
“We are talking spiritual,” she says. “We don’t proselytize. We don’t want to say what to believe in, other than that we know one thing—that there is a God. Now, let’s look at people’s lives and see how they have found Him and see how we can all be enriched and learn and get closer to God through that.”
“We can seek Him together.”
“We can seek Him together. On the show, if I can bring on somebody who can give me some part of the truth of who God is, that’s a blessing. We want to have a relationship with our Source—the Creator, the Giver of all life—we want to stay connected. That’s a natural desire for all of us.”
Growing up in Little Rock, Arkansas, Deborah was one of five daughters of Essie Bradford, a woman who had to leave school after third grade to work in the cotton fields and was devoted to raising her children. Her commitment to her family inspired Deborah so much that she dedicated Journey to Purpose to her.
After graduating from the University of Arkansas in Little Rock, Deborah became the youngest television station manager in the country at Channel 14 in her hometown. She would go on to win cable industry’s prestigious Crystal Award as a producer, a Regional Award for VH-1 for a story on parents in prison, and a national award from the Arts & Entertainment Channel for her coverage and story of civil rights heroine Daisy Bates.
“She feels God led her to strike out on her own.”
After serving as Arkansas Correspondent for Black Entertainment Television News, Deborah produced and anchored several television programs. When she began to feel limited in what she was able to produce, she feels God led her to strike out on her own.
“When I left the station—that was my calling. I never remember, per se, having a relationship with God prior to that. Coming out of Church of Christ, you learned the Bible. You learned the religion of what we were doing. But I didn’t feel like I had a relationship.”
“So I was really seeking for something more. I was feeling depleted, spiritually. So I started saying ‘Okay, God, who are you? I really want to know you.’” She founded Robinson Studios with the goal of producing documentaries and programming that would really make a difference in the lives of the viewers.
She worked on developing her relationship with God.
Over the next few years, she worked on developing her relationship with God—listening and praying. Then one afternoon, she felt the Holy Spirit tell her to go to Nashville. She didn’t know anyone there or have any connections, nor did she know what she was supposed to do once she got there. But she had felt the Spirit leading before in her life. “I knew that ‘Go to Nashville’ meant, Go to Nashville!” So in 1998, she did.
Once there, she spent much of the next two years at home allowing God to give her a new vision of what she was supposed to be doing. From this time of listening, Deborah Interviews was born.
“The whole purpose of it is to get people to seek God for themselves—to live their lives to the fullest and to walk in their purpose. I think it’s my own desire leading each show because every time I go into an interview, I always have an issue I’m wrestling with.” She chooses her guests from people who have expanded her own ideas of God and blessed her life.
Deborah remembers an interview she did with Yolanda Adams, a gospel songwriter and singer. That day Deborah was just tired. She needed peace. She sensed from Yolanda such a sense of peace she wanted to find out more about where that came from. So that’s what they talked about.
Peace comes from following God.
Yolanda said in the interview that peace comes from following God. “Yolanda said, ‘God is not going to give you anything that you’re not ready for. If you don’t go ahead and do what He’s calling you to do, He’ll use somebody else. It won’t get undone. The universe will continue, but you won’t be fulfilling what you were supposed to do.’”
Some days Deborah feels like it would be fine if He’d call someone else! But she also feels the calling she has followed is not something exclusive to her as Deborah Robinson. “There are probably thousands of women out there, and men, who had the vision that I had for Deborah Interviews. The question is—who’s going to answer the call? He has a call out to humanity, to all of us, to seek Him. To lead people to Him. It’s not a matter of being chosen, it’s whose answering.”
How to answer the call has evolved, too. When the show began, Deborah had a more dogmatic attitude—that she knew God and was going to share Him with the world. But as she progressed in her journey to know Him better, she found herself questioning everything.
“I can’t dare ask or think or question my beliefs.”
“I remember sitting in my bed writing, and being afraid to write down real questions that I had for God because they so challenged what I thought I believed about Him. It was a scary thing! I remember writing and crossing it out as if to say, ‘Please forgive me. I can’t dare ask or think or question my beliefs.’”
“My question was, ‘What if I remove everything that I think I know about You—I remove everything that everybody has ever told me—I remove everything that was everybody’s explanation of You?’ Because that’s what religion is. Religion is simply somebody’s explanation of who God is and how He wants you to be—the rules, the guidelines. And for me I said, ‘What if I removed all of that? What would I have?’” She realized that it would leave her with God and His laws—the things that are outside of human control.
She just opened herself up to God.
When she removed what people have manufactured, she could allow God to speak right to her and reveal His nature. She just opened herself up to God. Through this opening up, the show changed also. It became clear that her job was not to tell people about God, but to walk along on their journey with them.
While the specific guests may not be someone well-known or a celebrity, the real draw of the show, Deborah feels, is the topic of discussion. For instance, Kim Thomas, author of Even God Rested, will appear on a show focused on the fact that people need to find time for rest in their lives: physical, emotional and spiritual.
“You may not know Kim Thomas, but I bet you need to rest!” Deborah says confidently. Thomas’s ideas are based on the Biblical account of creation in Genesis that concludes with the fact that God rested. “Well, God didn’t need to rest,” Deborah says, “it was His model for us of combining activity with peaceful time. We should learn from that instead of letting things build up in our lives.”
“We can talk about the spiritual side of you that needs to rest.”
“People working too much and doing too much is something you’ll see on Oprah. But taking it higher, we put God in it. We can talk about the spiritual side of you that needs to rest.”
Deborah is clearly proud of the show and what it will accomplish. “We’re not going to say ‘Here’s how to do this.’ We’re going to show people who are living a life that is successful in a certain area because of what they believe”—people who are successful because they understand their connection to God and walk in it.
“Without a fresh Word from the Lord daily, I have no direction,” she says. Every morning she turns to prayer and searches for the divine presence to lead her day and direct her actions.
“Allow yourself to get to know God.”
“More and more every day I think that the call to communicate truth starts in my own personal life—me making decisions every day that totally line up with my peace with God in me as He’s leading me to do right and be right. To live life to its fullest.”
What advice does Deborah have for other spiritual seekers? “Allow yourself to get to know God again on top of what you already think you know. Open yourself up to the possibility that there could be more.”
“That’s what spirituality is about—experiencing God.”
Thank you so much for reading and watching news reports of my media work. I would love to hear from you. Please comment on anything you found of value.
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As always, thank you for allowing me to share in your journey to purpose. I am forever grateful.