You Need Alone Time: Jesus Said So!

Attention to the secular and/or non-Christians among us: This post starts with some Jesus-stuff and even quotes the Bible.  However, the message goes beyond that, so I encourage you to stick with us on this one.

I had the pleasure of attending a Church Mission night last week, and it was truly inspiring in many ways.  A particular highlight was the reading of the Gospel and our priest’s personal take on its meaning in his life.

It turns out that Jesus not only gave us examples of how to be a united community and to love our families.  He also showed us why we all need some alone time to truly serve our spouses, our children and our community in the best way possible .

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And when he had taken leave of them, he went off to the mountain to pray.

When it was evening, the boat was far out on the sea and he was alone on shore.

Then he saw that they were tossed about while rowing, for the wind was against them. About the fourth watch of the night, he came toward them walking on the sea.

Mark 6:46-48 NAB

If you know much about the Bible, you’ve probably heard of the two miracles that happen just before and within this passage.  Jesus is resting alone on the mountain after He fed around 5,000 people with fives loaves of bread and two fish.  And as the last line mentions, He shows off His walking on water trick to His disciples after He sees them struggling in a storm out in the sea.  It was a big day for Jesus!

Be Alone & Change Your Focus

I have heard this reading several times in the past, but I never really paid any attention to what Jesus was doing in between His two miracles that day.  It turns out that He told His disciples to go out to sea for a while, and He spent time alone resting and praying up on a nearby mountain.  It was only after He got this “me time” that He came down to the shoreline and returned His focus to the disciples.

Our priest did a wonderful job of putting this Gospel into a context that I could really relate to.  He talked about the reasons he has become an avid hiker and spends much of his time away from the Church taking hikes.  He expressed the refreshment and sense of peace he feels when he completes a solo hike.  He said he prays throughout the day, but his favorite time for prayer is atop a mountaintop (or a large hill as we have here in southern Illinois).

But here is the real power behind this Gospel: his alone time changes his focus.  When he doesn’t get any alone time to hike and relax, he can feel overwhelmed and become self-centered with thoughts of all that he sacrifices dominating his mind.  However, after a good hike, he returns to our parish with a renewed enthusiasm and a keen focus on those that he serves.

Go Climb a Mountain, Sit in a Tree or Walk Around the Block

I can totally relate to this.  We all need some time to “recharge” our minds and bodies.  More than that, we need time to refocus through prayer, meditation or simply relaxation.  With the busyness of life, I need time to hear my own thoughts, sit for ideas and allow God to remind me of my true priorities.

Fortunately, I had the opportunity so spend some quiet time in reflection during my favorite time of the year over the holidays.  I entered the New Year with a renewed enthusiasm for all areas of my life as well as a commitment to improve my actions to better reflect my priorities.  You may have noticed the contemplative nature of some of the posts around this time, such as “Do You Practice What You Preach?

I recognize now that I really need this alone time in smaller, more frequent doses.  Right now, I get it through morning workouts and late-night writings here at Engaged Marriage.  In the spring and summer, I will be recharged while cycling our area bike trails and the fall will bring another season of bowhunting. Occasionally, my family will join me, but for the most part these will be solo pursuits.

These are not selfish activities.  In fact, they are vitally important for the well-being of my marriage and my family.  I think Jesus would totally agree.

I’d love to hear from you on this topic.  What do you do to refocus on your true priorities in life?

Photo by peasap


About the author 


Dustin Riechmann created Engaged Marriage to help other married couples live a life they love (especially) when they feel too busy to make it happen. He has many passions, including sharing ways to enjoy an awesome marriage in 15 minutes a day, but his heart belongs with his wife Bethany and their three young kids.

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  1. My favorite re-charge time is being home alone. I love it when my husband is hunting, or at the gym, or visiting with his dad or brother and I have a few hours alone, or whole weekends/weeks alone. It gives me time to clean up and clean out with no distractions, I can play the music that I enjoy, I can watch chick flicks and eat popcorn for dinner. I love, love, love me time at home. An added bonus is that after some me time to re-charge I’m so excited for him to come home!

    1. Absence does make the heart grow fonder, right Jen? 🙂

      I can totally see where you are coming from with this comment. I honestly don’t remember the last time I have been home alone, but when my wife is gone and the kids are sleeping it’s pretty close. It almost makes me feel like I’m back in college for a little while with the freedom to just chill out and do what I want. Of course, that usually includes writing something for this blog!

      However, I am always excited to get back to family life when she returns home and the kids wake up. That’s a very cool “normal” state for me!

      1. You got me on the absence comment. I contradict that thought on a post on my blog from a few days ago! I think it depends on the type and length of the absence. 🙂

  2. I think my husband recharges with his xbox. I think thats his way of letting off steam. Although i don’t know if that gives him the opportunity to pray. If i comee home, and he’s playing, I’ll give him his space until he’s done. He says that i can come play with him, but if he’s started playing alone, then I won’t bother him until he invites me to play with him. Its not usually too long, and he’ll seen come find me and help out with what i’m doing, so i’m happy for him to have that time for himself.

    However, I have no idea what i do, though i’m sure I do something. Does sleep count?
    .-= Mary´s last blog ..Knight of the Guild =-.

    1. Sure Mary, sleep counts as long as it helps clear your mind! I miss my video game days sometimes. Of course, now my 5 year old can play with me thanks to the Nintendo Wii!

  3. Great Stuff Dustin –

    The one thing I asked for for Christmas was time at a retreat center here in Middle Tennessee. I was feeling overly busy and stressed. Those feelings come and go – but the need to take some down time I am learning is essential. That is also a reason I chose walking for the Improve yourself 2010 Challenge . It gives me time to be alone with my thoughts – and recharge!
    .-= Stu@themarryblogger´s last blog ..Porn and Marriage =-.

    1. Great thoughts, Stu! I’ve never even thought of going on a retreat by myself since my mind always jumps to marriage retreats. I’m sure that was totally refreshing. And I definitely agree about a nice, brisk walk helping to clear your mind and refocus.

  4. This is definitely something I need to work on fitting (back) into my life. It’s tough to find time with a husband working odd hours, 2 kids, a full-time job and a start-up business on the side! But that’s no excuse; everyone needs to find time to recharge. I’m passionate about all those things, which is why they fill my life. But my passion diminishes as I get overworked and stressed out.

    Professionally, I recharge my batteries by attending an awesome marketing seminar (like the Social Fresh Conference a couple of weeks ago in Nashville – I was in social media heaven!).

    Personally is where I need to improve. But, like Stu, one of my goals from the “Improve Yourself” challenge was weekly coffee dates with my husband and that’s been wonderful! This is an area where I need to continue to be more intentional. Thanks, Dustin!
    .-= Kristin Gentry´s last blog ..What’s a story from your marriage that you love to tell or hear? (Week 13) =-.

    1. You are doing so many great things, Kristin! I can easily find myself overwhelmed as well with a lot of the same issues that you face. That level of stress and time pressure (even when you love what you’re doing) really requires that you take some time to yourself, even if it’s just for a short time to take a quiet bath or read a book out on the deck.

      I don’t have much spare time either, so I try to find those little moments to chill out and calm my mind.

  5. This is a wonderfully written post Dustin!

    What a way to make such a terrific point, and in my opinion Jesus is the perfect example to follow. I love to go hiking, but admit I usually take along my little guy. Although I always make our trip about him, I find that just getting away from the everyday hustle of life, to see something as completely beautiful as what God created, I am still able to refocus on key issues in my life. I have to say too that I usually feel like having a real conversation with my wife soon after—one where we are able to discuss how we can improve together. Distance makes the heart grow fonder I guess. LOL

    Thanks for the insight Dustin!
    .-= Brad´s last blog ..Debt Is A Lot Like Chewing Gum =-.

    1. Thanks, Brad! I totally agree that there is no better place to reconnect than in nature. It’s my time spent in the woods and on the area bike trails that really “fill me up” and give me motivation to be a better man.

  6. To steal away or not to steal away, that is the question.

    Poignant post! With work, family, post-work interests (i.e., blogging), 2nd business, etc… it does seem like I am doing just that, stealing away – stealing time away from one entity and repurposing it to another. This cause me to continually feel like there is always a demand on my time. Even when I’m doing ‘me time’. And that’s what I think I struggle with…feeling the guilt of taking ‘me time’ when there are so many things that are still outstanding.

    Appropriate…Prioritize…Delegate…Reassess. In theory, these ought to work. We’ll see.

  7. Pingback: 37 Family Things to Do at Home on a Rainy Sunday | Engaged Marriage
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