Savannah Guthrie Discusses New Faith Book ‘Mostly What God Does’

Savannah Guthrie challenged herself to leave her comfort zone and “do something thrilling and scary” when she wrote her new book about faith, “Mostly What God Does: Reflections on Seeking and Finding His Love Everywhere.”

The process was scary for the TODAY co-anchor, who is Christian, because she is, in her words, a “regular person” — not a theologian, not a religious scholar. And yet it was thrilling because her faith is an essential part of who she is.

“It’s what makes me tick. It’s what makes me joyful. It’s what helps me navigate the world and stresses and disappointments and fears,” she tells

In the foreword for “Mostly What God Does,” a collection of essays and personal reflections released Feb. 20, she lays out her “road map” for the chapters that follow, based on what she describes as the six foundational aspects of a connection to God, including love, hope and purpose. She then notes that the book isn’t solely intended for those who have a firm belief in God.

“You may be faith-full, you may be faith-curious, you may be faith-less, still scarred by a toxic religiosity of your past,” she writes. Regardless of which category applies to you, Savannah invites you to “come as you are.”

“I’m not writing this book from some mountaintop where I’ve received some wisdom, and now I’m imparting it to the world,” she explains in the interview. “No, I’m still down here, struggling. Still down here, disappointing myself. I’m still down here, needing faith, needing grace, needing mercy, needing love. That’s why I wrote the book — because I’m the person that needs to read it. And so I thought, if I do, then maybe others do, too.”

Embarking on an important journey

Prior to working on what became “Mostly What God Does,” Savannah, 52, had co-authored two children’s books and was subsequently pitched follow-up projects.

“From time to time over the years since I wrote those kids’ books, I might get an offer to write something: another children’s book or laughably even a cookbook once,” she shares, with a nod to her relative lack of skill in the kitchen that inspired the TODAY All Day series “Starting from Scratch with Savannah Guthrie.”

“But I’ve always been so busy with the (TODAY) show and I’ve got little kids and I never really wanted to write anything,” the mom of two continues.

Then, about a year ago, she was presented with the opportunity to write a book about faith, and she says she felt intrigued, excited and challenged by the idea. She decided to give it a try, since she considers her faith to be her greatest passion.

The cover of Savannah's new book.
The cover of Savannah’s new book.

“I wasn’t sure there would be a book at the end of it, but I knew that it would be a really important path and journey to take,” she adds.

Her interest in faith can be traced back to her childhood, growing up as a Baptist in what she calls a “very churchy family.”

“We would go three times a week. It was very much part of my upbringing,” she recalls. “My sister has the best line in the book: She said, ‘God was the sixth member of our family,’ in our family of five.”

Though “Mostly What God Does” is not a tell-all memoir, as Savannah is quick to point out in the foreword, she does reference some of the struggles she has faced personally and professionally, including the loss of her father to a heart attack when she was a teenager; a divorce in her mid-30s; and her winding career path before she landed her co-anchor seat at TODAY.

Over the years, she says, she’s gone through “seasons of devout study and enthusiasm” about her faith, and also “seasons of distance and disappointment,” when her relationship with God wasn’t as strong.

“All of what I have come to realize is that all of that is my faith story: belief and doubt, you know, joy, and also disappointment and sorrow. It’s all part of my faith journey,” she says. “It’s all enhanced what I believe and have come to understand about God.”

Spreading a message of love

The title of Savannah’s book gets to the heart of the message she wanted to get across with the project: “Mostly what God does is love you,” a phrase taken from a translation by scholar and pastor Eugene Peterson of a Bible verse. The theme of love is one that she knew early on in the writing process she wanted to focus on.

“That sentence always hit me, and I loved it,” she explains. “Because I think so many of us, particularly if you do come from any kind of faith background, you may be asking yourself, ‘What does God think of me? What is God doing right now? What does God think of that choice I made? Am I selfish? Am I flawed beyond reconciliation?’

“The answer is, ‘Mostly what God does is love you.’ What has he been doing this whole time? Just loving you. And I love the simplicity and bareness of it. It’s simple, but it’s not easy.”

Even if a reader is not of faith or is struggling with doubt, Savannah hopes that message of love still resonates.

“I hope the book is appealing and compelling to anyone in any walk of life, because it’s just a gentle call to be loved. And once you feel that love, well, you’ll find that you can’t help but share it. It’s just contagious. And I think that’s really the thrust of the book and really what I was trying to say,” she says.

That positive outlook ties in with one of Savannah’s other foundational aspects of a connection to God: hope. Savannah acknowledges that it can be challenging to hold on to hope in difficult times, when we are inundated with depressing news headlines.

Her faith and her hope provide her with perspective in such situations: “When I get discouraged, I try to go back to basics and remember that I’m not in charge. God is. And that I trust him and believe him and hope in him.”

However, she quickly adds that hope is a “word, it’s not certainty.” She asks in her book, what if there is no silver lining? What if there is no justice in store for the world? What if, she writes, “this whole idea of God is just a figment, a soothing story we tell ourselves?”

These are all reasonable questions to wonder. Still, Savannah chooses to live a life of optimism.

“None of us on Earth here can know if God is real or how it ends, right? We’re humans; we don’t get to know. No one knows what happens after death. No one comes back to tell. Fact. I would rather be hopeful and turn out to be wrong at the end than hopeless and turn out to be right,” she tells “Hope is the posture that I choose every single day.

“And it’s not a blind hope. I think there are things all around that reassure and confirm that hope. But in the end, it is faith. That’s why they call it a leap of faith. It’s a leap of hope. And so I try to hang on to hope.”

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