Leaving the Military: What Now?

paradeNothing has been more worrying and stressful than my path of transitioning out of the military. It is all I have known since I graduated High School. Waking up every morning to do P.T., 0900 formations for in-rank inspections, all followed by a day of performing many tasks where the standard of completion seems to change by the minute. Though this may seem like a hectic life and a job that does not seem very pleasant, there is a strange peace and contentment that comes with the job the longer you stay in and conform to the system.

There is a sense of belonging, pride, and fulfillment that comes with putting on the uniform. It is hard to look in a mirror and see your name next to US Army on your chest and the American flag on your shoulder and not feel significant. There is something about looking into the eyes of a young service member and knowing that they would cling to your every word and command in the heat of battle. There is something about existing in an entity that incorporates less than one percent of the population, while bearing the burden of one hundred percent of its national defense and security. So what happens when all of this is soon to be removed from your life? Whether you are retiring or you just feel that you are being called into a different arena of life, there is something about walking away from all of this that is quite scary.

Leaving_Qatar_by_FullApertureAs my military career comes to its final days, I feel more and more anxiety creeping into my heart. It is not a fear or anxiety of being able to find work (that has already been taken care of) or providing for my family. As I prepare to strip myself of my uniform, it feels as if I am stripping myself of my significance, my place in the world and all that I have known until now. It left a lingering question on my heart, “What now?”

As I dwelt on this question in fasting and prayer, I was led to a passage found in the second book of Timothy which states, “Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 2:3). It was then and there that I realized my days of being a soldier were not coming to an end; I was merely exchanging my uniform, armor, weaponry and commander, and fortunately this would be my last change of command.

Brothers and sisters I assure you that though your service uniforms have been retired to the hanger and you have been given the title of veteran; as a believer in Jesus Christ you have been enlisted in the greatest war the world has ever known. As Paul tells us in Ephesians, this war is not against flesh and blood like we are used to fighting, rather the spiritually dark principalities and powers that are ever-present in this world. My friends, this war has claimed more lives than any physical conflict in history.

The Christian life is not one that can be lived in a perpetual state of garrison life, rather it will consist of a life lived upon a spiritual battlefield. The battles will be hard fought, but unlike many of our earthly battles that depend upon the ability to change and adapt quickly in our tactics, spiritual battles are won by only one tactic, complete faith in the will of our commander, Jesus Christ.

For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith – 1 John 5:4

So as you step into the unknown and remove the uniform, the rank, and the structure, never forget that you are still a warrior. The skills you learned and the values that have been placed in you will assist you greatly in being a good soldier for our Lord Jesus Christ. So that when God calls you home to rest you can repeat the words of Paul in saying,

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith – 2 Timothy 4:7

military_leaving_familyMay you be confident as you begin a new season of your life, that though you may feel unsure or worried about what this will mean for you, remember that the commander of your life who leads from the front, is preparing the best path for you to take.

I will go before you and make the rough places smooth; I will shatter the doors of bronze and cut through their iron bars – Isaiah 45:2

Blake Hart
Disclaimer: The thoughts and views published on the Veterans to Christ blog are those of Blake Hart and in no way are meant to represent the United States Army or the Armed Forces.

Blake Hart is currently serving in the army as a unit supply specialist in Ft. Richardson, AK where he is stationed with his wife Rae and their 7 month old son Colt. Blake has served in the military for 5 years and has been deployed once to Afghanistan for a total of 12 months. He is currently transitioning into the civilian arena in the area of full time ministry. He is finishing up his Bachelor’s degree in Christian Ministry from Liberty University, and has applied to start Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary in the fall of this year to begin the process of earning his Master’s of Divinity in Homiletics.