"At once Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, on the other side of the lake, while he sent the crowd away. After saying goodbye to the people, he went away to a hill to pray." (Mark 6:45-46)
Jesus took time-outs like that frequently. It is a vital practice in living a life of faith. Many of us are not very good at it. Some may even feel like it is cheating, self-indulgent, a waste of time. About twenty years ago, Judith Couchman offered up this encouragement:
"Shouldn't we be able to keep up, to continue pitching in as long as everybody and everything needs us? If we feel like hiding, aren't we weak-willed or irresponsible? No. To feel like hiding is to be human, to recognize the soul's desire to pull away and within, to respond to a need for replenishment. The problem is we don't hide often enough. If we practiced periodic hiding, a repeated running away to God - often just for moments, sometimes for hours or days - we'd be less susceptible to letting the daily grind pulverize us."
She wrote that in a book called Shaping a Woman's Soul. Here's to our little study group exploring Women and Identity. And guys, we need to break away too from time to time so that we also maintain healthful spiritual and relational shape and form.