The Best Advice I Received as a Single Woman


I’ve had a consistent spiritual director for the last four or five years. She is a laywoman who was my favorite professor in seminary for graduate school. I attended several of her classes and they were always the ones I most enjoyed. Towards the end of my studies, this professor helped coach me on the writing and development of my thesis. Dr. Cooney is passionate, wise, and challenges me when I need a spiritual kick in the pants. She is a woman I deeply admire and respect. 

About a year and half ago, I was working through a recent break-up. While I was sad, I had perfect peace about my decision and why it was the best choice for me. As a verbal processor, I was talking through some things and starting to over think the next steps to take with being single and dating again.

My spiritual director shared some advice with me that she received from a Jesuit priest many years ago during her own single years. This priest shared with her, “Pat, you everything you need for a meaningful life right now.” I was so struck by this. What an important reminder that my life is not about arriving at what I want, but living in the present moment with gratitude and openness.

Then Dr. Cooney shared with me an important reminder, “Patty, be open. Just show up. There is no formula for life.”

I took a long, deep breath as I let her words settle in my spirit. She repeated them again to me, as if to make a stronger point for me to understand. Her words continue to resonate with me long after they were spoken.

Being open and showing up

happy woman

I’ve written her advice in my prayer journal. I’ve prayed and cried with these words when I struggle with my desires for marriage and family may pass me by. I often have to remind myself of her advice in moments when I feel scared about the future or lonely that I do not have someone to share life with right now.

Sometimes I struggle with the lie that perhaps God is not good, or that he will pass me by or withhold the desires of my heart. Regardless of how I feel, I have to keep preaching the truth to myself and asking Jesus to help me trust him more with the desires of my heart. Some days this is easy, and other days it is quite difficult.

That advice from my spiritual director is something that can be beneficial for all of us, no matter our stage in life or the circumstances we find ourselves in. Be open. Just show up.

Live your one life well today and every day. Look for the beauty and joy right where life finds you. Be open to new opportunities, adventures, and people. Just show up to live your life and keep showing up, even when it’s hard to do. 

Never let a day pass by without recalling all the things you are grateful for in your life, all the blessings of how God loves you. Even when you feel lonely or sad or worried, yes, even in those moments you can still find something to be grateful for.

Wherever God has you right now, whichever season of life you are in, be open and just up to live your life well.

What is the best pierce of spiritual advice you have received in your life? How has it helped you become a better, healthier version of yourself?

Who are the people in your life you look to for wise advice and guidance?