HomeRetreatsThe Audacity of Withdrawing for a Retreat

The Audacity of Withdrawing for a Retreat

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Editor’s note: Throughout July, we’re hosting 31 Days with St. Ignatius, a month-long celebration of Ignatian spirituality. In addition to the calendar of Ignatian articles found here, posts on dotMagis this month will explore the theme of “The Audacity of Ignatian Spirituality.”

“Will it be worth my time?” The question came across the phone from an anxious woman who was considering attending a retreat. I smiled as I heard her question. It was not the first time I had heard this question in my years of Ignatian retreat ministry.

For so many stepping into a retreat for the first time, especially a silent retreat, it is the unknown that makes people pause. They wonder, in a life full of noise, whether they can embrace unfamiliar silence. In a world of routine, they may be afraid to let go and trust a few days into someone else’s hands. Those considering a retreat may fear what God may invite them to confront on that retreat or what God might invite saying “yes” to.

All of these are normal questions and concerns as we consider making a retreat. But is it worth the time and the risk to withdraw from regular life for a few days to open to God and attend a retreat? Yes! 100% yes!

What I told the woman on the phone that day I can say here with full confidence. Retreats can change your life, which is part of our resistance to go in the first place. We don’t always like change. But if we are willing to take the leap of faith and give a few days to God alone, profound things can happen in our lives.

Here are a few things I’ve witnessed in my two-and-a-half decades of retreat work that I hope will encourage you to make time for a retreat. Retreats grow in us:

  • Unconditional Love—A deeper understanding of God’s love and care for us personally.
  • Identity—A belief in our true identity as loved children of God.
  • Forgiveness—The ability to forgive ourselves and others in ways and in places we never thought we could.
  • Friendship—An intimate friendship with Jesus.
  • Confidence—A bone-deep knowing that we are not alone and that God is always with us.
  • Courage—The ability to say “yes” to what God is inviting us to do in life and embracing how to share our gifts.

I could write books upon books of what I have seen God do in people’s lives when they are generous with their time with God by having the audacity to make a retreat. And I’ve experienced myself what God has done for me, in me, and through me, when giving God time each year for my silent retreat.

Retreats invite us to take a leap of faith. We are invited to prioritize the most important relationship in our lives. We are invited into the unknown to allow ourselves to be tended to by God.

The woman I spoke to that day on the phone took the leap of faith and attended her first silent retreat. Days after she returned home, she called me again. When I picked up the phone, eager to hear how it went, she began to tell me with a voice full of gratitude, “Becky, it was worth it. It was totally worth it.” She then shared the graces God gave her on those days away on retreat. She concluded by telling me, “I am not the same woman I was before this retreat.”

How could she be? How could any of us be when we withdraw from the busyness of life for a retreat? For on retreats, we encounter Christ, who comes into our real lives and our hearts holding joy and sorrow. He meets us where we are, and he offers us exactly what he knows we need.

I encourage you to take the risk. Take the leap of faith, and withdraw from life to attend a retreat.

As we start 31 Days with St. Ignatius, read more from Becky in 10 Ways Ignatian Spirituality Supports a Busy Life. Then use the hashtag #31DayswithIgnatius on your favorite social media channels to share what you love about Ignatian spirituality in your busy life.

Becky Eldredge
Becky Eldredgehttp://beckyeldredge.com/
Becky Eldredge is a writer and spiritual director in Baton Rouge, LA. The author of Busy Lives & Restless Souls and The Inner Chapel, Becky holds Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Education from Louisiana State University and a Masters in Pastoral Studies from Loyola University New Orleans. She has her Certificate in Spiritual Direction from Spring Hill College. Becky has been involved in ministry for more than 15 years, with the majority of her work in retreat ministry and adult faith formation. While ministry is one of her passions, her greatest joy is sharing life with her husband, Chris, and her children, Brady, Abby, and Mary.


  1. Hi Becky,
    I don’t know much about retreats. Do you know if there is somewhere for me to learn more about them? Such as where and when…. I am new to Ignatian spirituality if that helps. I feel the longing to retreat from the noise of life… to listen… and perhaps learn how to receive forgiveness, and healing. To allow myself the space to honestly meet God where I’m at. Perhaps you have some advice for this? Thank you very much! I really appreciated reading this article.

  2. Thank you, Becky! I enjoy living, learning and thriving through your blogs. The information you impart in this article is so on spot. I feel God’s grace and excitement just reading your words. Thank you


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