There is something special about a military ceremony.

All those Soldiers marching in formation. Eyes focused on the commander. Ears attentive to the bugle call. Shoes and brass glinting in the sun.

They take their places in perfectly straight rows and columns by company and battalion.

Then, they stand.

They stand motionless through the invocation, the presentation of the colors, the anthem, the inspection of troops, speeches, and the benediction. Occasionally, the troops are commanded to move their left foot a few inches to the side, or to lift their hands in unison to salute.

I don’t know why these events usually happen in the hot months. But inevitably, they do. And sweat trickles down the smalls of their backs or into their eyes. Feet begin to burn from the constant pressure of seldom-worn dress shoes. Knees begin to ache for movement. Arms go numb. Tunnel vision sets in from constant forward focus.

But any movements not made in concert with the formation stick out like a sore thumb.

As the ceremony drags on, the likelihood of someone falling out increases. A Soldier topples to the ground. His cover goes flying. His weapon clatters to the turf. Other Soldiers around him are jostled as they go down. The crowd gasps. Medics race in and drag the now patient to an ambulance waiting just beyond the edge of the formation.

All that drama could be avoided by heeding the time honored advice to “take a knee.”

As we march through life shoulder to shoulder with our sisters in Christ, we need to be reminded to take a knee, too.

We become worn and weary when challenges in this life require our constant attention. Our bodies burn with ailments compounded by the sheer physical stamina required to navigate this life we live. Sometimes the waiting for orders, housing, deployments to end, or pregnancy tests to be positive causes an ache we cannot relieve. We go numb from the relentless pressures. Tears trickle down our cheeks, but we feel as though we have no choice but to simply keep standing.

Our pride whispers that taking a knee would be too noticeable when others around us don’t seem to require the break.

Taking a knee is biblical. God commands it. He modeled it for us.

Regular, intentional rest restores our vitality and strength. Which makes us more productive in the long run. And, let’s face it, taking a knee is a whole lot less noticeable than falling out.

But that is precisely what we risk when we refuse to rest. Incapacitating illness or injury, depression, and exhaustion are all potential consequences for our failure to refresh ourselves. And when they come, we risk taking others down with us.

It’s not only good for us as individuals, but it gives those in our sphere of influence permission to follow suit and that makes for a much healthier community all around.

We are equipped to stand firm, but that doesn’t negate the command to rest.

How will you take a knee today?

“It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest,

eating the bread of anxious toil; 

for he gives to his beloved sleep.” 

Psalm 127:2

Liz Giertz is a Veteran turned Army wife and mom to two boisterous boys who and one shelter dog who provide endless writing material. Until the next set of orders arrive, they call FT Hood, Texas home. She is passionate about encouraging women to overcome MESSES, embrace MEMORIES, and become the MASTERPIECES God created them to be. You can connect with her on her blog, My Messy Desk, as well as on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.