(Stephen Colbert) was part of the same Second City class that included Amy Sedaris and Paul Dinello and Chris Farley. “Our first night professionally onstage,” he said, the longtime Second City director Jeff Michalski told them that the most important lesson he could pass on to them was this: “You have to learn to love the bomb.”
“It took me a long time to really understand what that meant,” Colbert said. “It wasn’t ‘Don’t worry, you’ll get it next time.’ It wasn’t ‘Laugh it off.’ No, it means what it says. You gotta learn to love when you’re failing.… The embracing of that, the discomfort of failing in front of an audience, leads you to penetrate through the fear that blinds you. Fear is the mind killer.”
So often when I am scared, I adopt a spirit of victimhood. In the face of attack, I curl up in a ball, just waiting for the pummeling to stop. While I was reading this interview with Stephen Colbert in GQ, though, it occurred to me that maybe there was another way. Maybe, instead of going on the defensive, I should go on the offensive, lean into the fear and become an adventurer, eager to be challenged, eager to test my strength, eager to grow.
It is amazing just what a profound difference this small shift in perspective can make.
At one point during my long, difficult labor with Max I asked God to give me relief, to lift the fear and anxiety I was feeling. I have never forgotten his response. He said:
“Your suffering is not without meaning, my girl. I am asking you to embrace it because it is through surrendering to this frightening, painful experience, that you will heal another broken part of your soul and make space to welcome an even greater degree of my divine peace into your life.”
“Offer it up,” God whispered, “Offer it up through me, with me, and in me. Unite your sufferings to my Holy Cross.”
Instead of remaining inwardly turned, focused solely on my own misery, this small act of offering up my suffering shifted my gaze outward and focused my thoughts on others. Suddenly, with the hope that I might be able to help heal myself or bring others a tiny bit of relief, I actually found myself wanting the contractions to intensify and to hurt just a bit more.
I became a woman at battle, in pursuit of a greater good and a deeper peace, rather than a helpless victim. Instead of feeling abandoned by God, I was cooperating with him. And through this shift in my perspective I was able, little by little and moment by moment, to surrender.
That we will sometimes experience fear in this life is a given. But how we respond to that fear is our choice. Today let’s choose courage. Today, let’s be brave.
Every time you feel scared this week, remind yourself of two things:
1) This moment is an opportunity to grow stronger, to show your fears that they don’t have ownership over you.
2) Remind yourself of the fruit suffering can bear when united to the Cross. Offer your fears up. Use them for good.
You’ve got this, sweet peas.
And God’s got you.