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Defeat hell

It feels like the world ends a lot.

Not in a literal crashing asteroids and raining fire from heaven kind of way, of course.  Well, unless you’re a Harold Camping fan.  In that case, this post probably isn’t for you.  The rest of us aren’t Myan or crazy, but it seems that life sometimes leaves us feeling…well, done.  This world may be a tough old hag able to survive much, but our hearts sure are fragile things.

This year has seemed to be a tumultuous one for me, and I’ve faced my fair share of inward apocalypses.  They’ve been hell to walk through, and in some ways I’m still walking through a few of them.  But, I’ve learned something amid the doomsday…something valuable and worth sharing.

I’ve learned how to be alive.  

Maybe your life isn’t some Christmas story this Christmas.  Maybe you’re walking through hell right now.  Maybe things feel like they’re over, finished, final.  Maybe it seems like the sun is setting for the last time, and the darkness surrounds you like a stalking predator.  Maybe you’ve forgotten how to laugh, or how to relax, or how to enjoy life.  Maybe things didn’t work out the way they planned.  Maybe you had to say goodbye to someone you weren’t ready to say goodbye to.  Maybe things have been too difficult for too long.

Maybe it feels like the real apocalypse would be a welcome relief to the inner apocalypse raging inside your heart right now.  

If that’s you, take heart.  Here’s how to survive the apocalypse, be it a literal one, or an apocalypse raging in your heart:

Well, there aren’t any specific steps.

Originally, there were bullet points here.  They were clean, and sounded nice and motivational.  They were filled with hopeful cliches, and left things feeling tidy and organized.  But, I realized there was a problem:

Cliches and tidy glib answers don’t do much against an apocalypse.  

So, rather, a reminder.  The world isn’t ending tomorrow, but it may feel like yours will.  Hold on.  Hang on to hope.  Be audaciously crazy enough to walk forward, through the pain and not around it.  Sometimes the bravest thing you can do is breathe;  so, breathe…deep and often.  Tomorrow is a new day, a new moment with new opportunities.  Walk not with regret over yesterday, but with hope toward tomorrow.

The Myans and Harold Camping are wrong;  the apocalypse doesn’t get to defeat you.  You have the choice to rise against hell;  to stand up, broken heart and all, and fight against it with all that you have.   You will give hell, hell.  God is near those whose hearts are close to giving up.  He will not falter, will not soon give up, and will not fail to make new your heart.   You need to know that you’re valuable and worth fighting for.

And in all the fighting, all the struggling, all the doubting, and all the question, you’ll discover that life will flourish again.  The pain will somehow transform you, in surprising and unexpected ways.  Art takes its time, and doesn’t use an eraser.

There will be an end.  And there will be a new beginning.  I’m praying that you see the beginning on the horizon.  Fight well this apocalypse, friends.