Great news: a new career option is available to ladies!

A significant change was made recently to the roles available to women in the British Army.  Up until recently, women have been able to make a contribution alongside their male counterparts across various roles in the army, apart from certain frontline combat roles like the infantry and tank units. A number of people believe that having women in these roles is not a good idea, while others have suggested that there should be no restrictions to what women can do in the Armed Forces.

The Government carried out a review of the involvement of women in these frontline combat roles and has come to the conclusion that women should be allowed to serve in these roles if they demonstrate ability to pass the test for entry into these units. As you can imagine, the tests for entry into these units can be very rigorous. I recently looked up the physical test for some of these combat roles. A person would have to carry 25kg of weight and run for 8 miles in military boots. This is no small challenge, even if you are used to carrying a heavy rucksack (or handbag) around. For a lot of people, even running the 8-mile distance in running shoes will be a challenge. If you have carried anything heavy for any distance, you will be familiar with the fact that the same amount of weight starts to feel heavier the longer you carry it.  This is because the weight begins to take its toll on the body and the body's ability to carry the weight diminishes over time….do you reckon you have what it takes to pass the infantry test?

I cannot see a huge influx of women rushing to join the infantry in the wake of this change in government policy. One publication estimates that the proportion of women likely to pass the current test will be less than 5% of those currently in the army. Although there are many reasons why women may not be joining the frontline combat units, the biggest reason is that the army is an organisation that is joined on a voluntary basis; no-one will be compelled to take the test to see whether they have what it takes to join the infantry. It means that most women or men will never know or care to know what it feels like to carry 25kg over 8 miles in military boots.

Having said that, many people will be familiar with the feeling of carrying emotional and psychological weight for many years.

Many people feel guilty about what they have done. Others are suffering from the guilt of what they failed to do. Some are struggling to come to terms with the actions taken by others but which have left them carrying a burden that has been difficult to shake off. Does this describe your situation?You may not be surprised to hear that, like physical weight, the effects of carrying emotional and psychological baggage can become more pronounced over time. For some, it may be the damage it has done or is doing to relationships. For others, it may be the toll that it is taking on one’s physical health or emotional wellbeing. In Psalms 32 and 38, David the psalmist wrote about some of the physical symptoms that guilt was causing including physical weakness and pain. Can you see how emotional and psychological baggage is starting to take its toll on your life?

Are you tired of carrying the weight from your past? Would you welcome some relief? Jesus offers you relief today if you are willing to accept it. He invites you to cast your burdens on him and he will offer you rest (Matthew 11:28). This is an offer that many have taken and can confirm that their burdens have been lifted. The infantry test requires you to go through the full demands of the grueling experience to secure entry into life as an infantry soldier. In contrast, by turning to Jesus with your life and all its burdens, you give yourself a real opportunity to enter into a new in all its fullness!