Christians have a love for family, but in celebrating marriage and children, the community can isolate singles. However, God has a perfect plan for all His children and sometimes that plan’s timing doesn’t involve marriage and a baby carriage. Kat Harris has been a dear friend of mine for twelve years now and I love the way she uses her influence to encourage Christian singles (like myself!), especially women in their 30’s. Kat has grown her blog, The Refined Woman, and podcast, The Refined Collective, into a bonafide lifestyle brand with over 50,000 followers on Instagram alone. It was a real treat to talk to her about the topic of Christian dating.
How did The Refined Woman get started?
After photographing New York Fashion Week for years, I left one season wanting to do more. In an industry that defines worth by status and looks, I wanted to start a different conversation.
When we speak truth over ourselves, others, spaces, industries and cities—these words won’t go back to heaven until they’ve produced fruit; whether it takes seconds or centuries. It’s an incredible promise from Scripture (Isaiah 55:10-11).
I wanted to speak life, truth, courage and identity over women that may never step foot in church. That’s why I started The Refined Woman. That, alongside my photography business, became my entry point to get into the industry.
I know it’s hard to talk about things like sex, living together before marriage or things like porn and masturbation. However, we have to normalize these conversations, especially when the single population in our church communities continues to grow.
What started as a style blog has turned into a bigger passion than I ever thought possible. Over the last six years, The Refined Woman has transitioned from style posts, to posts sharing personal struggles and stories of overcoming trials. I’ve now also started a podcast and created curriculum for single women. The heart behind everything remains the same: encourage and speak life and truth over the lives of women.
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What does being a STRONG WOMAN mean to you? . Having + doing it all? Being the wife, the CEO, the mom with that fit body + toxic free skincare + green juice namaste lifestyle all at once?! . We’re told we can do + be it all. But does doing all the things at once sound as overwhelming + exhausting to you as it does me? . Because what happens when you find out you’re human and you can’t do all the things at once? . That all too familiar feeling that visits ALL women climbs into your bedroom window: shame + guilt. Then with the shame comes the hiding—you can’t let anyone else know how exhausted you are—how you can’t keep up and juggle all the things at once—because then you’ll be found out. And then you’ll be rejected, less than, a failure… . Do you resonate with any of this? . What if we’re missing a crucial piece of what it means to be strong? . What if strength is the courage to say I can’t do all the things at the same time? . What if it’s saying: I’m tired of trying to do this all by myself can you help me! . Or I’m done with pretending that I have it altogether. My life isn’t social media perfect; it’s messy and beautifully imperfect. . I wonder if that’s part of what it means when the Bible talks about how in our weakness is where we find strength. . What do you think would happen if we flipped the script on what it meant to be strong. Instead of perfect, strength means admitting weakness? What would your life look like if you did that—how would it feel? What would that mean for you? . I’d love to hear your thoughts. Share below!! XO, Kat 📷 @carterfish
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I’ve learned to hold this thing very loosely, trust me it wasn’t always this way. God always brought me back to what matters to Him: people and relationships.
Whether I’m talking about The Bachelor on Instagram Stories, sharing about my past eating disorder on the podcast or supporting single women through my curriculum, my vision remains the same: empower women to embrace their beauty, identity and value through storytelling.
You’re really bold to discuss dating as a Christian woman in her 30’s. What do you speak about that seems to resonate with your readers?
I think people resonate with my transparency about how difficult navigating dating can be as a committed Christian in today’s instant gratification and hook-up culture.
I live in New York City and 80% of my church is single. We’re living longer, marrying later and have the digital world at our fingertips. For every college-educated man in NYC, there are two college-educated women…. And that doesn’t take into account: does he have a job, does he love Jesus, is he straight, emotionally stable? I could go on.
Many women come to me disillusioned and frustrated about dating in the church. And if we look at the numbers; it is discouraging.
Many women come to me disillusioned and frustrated about dating in the church. And if we look at the numbers; it is discouraging. It’s like living in a world where your everyday reality is being a contestant on The Bachelor.
The good news is this: God is bigger than statistics.
Scripture tells us that hope doesn’t put us to shame (Romans 5:5). So, I have the permission and authority to pray bold prayers about my future and my desire to be married to a godly man of integrity.
Jesus is in the business of making the impossible, possible. When there’s no way, He makes a way. He’s constantly doing new things. Out of the desert, He bursts forth streams of rushing water (Isaiah 43:19).
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Can anyone tell me where the delete winter button is?!? . Lest I burrow into my apartment + watch Gossip Girl re-runs for the next 4 months until the sun comes back out…Help me help you! Yesterday I did my first IG Live for Single Women—we talked about 3 Ways to Embrace Your Sexuality. I am still in that THOUSANDS of you tuned in + literally am loving every single DM + question you’re sending my way! . So let me ask you this: as a single woman: what is your biggest question? Most prominent struggle? Biggest pain point? . First of all, I guarantee you: YOU’RE NOT ALONE! . I’d love to guide you through this process + support you whether your dating life is a desert wasteland or you’re going through a break-up or you’re leaving to go on your next online date. . I got you. So share with me below + let’s chat: What is the hardest thing you’re doing through as a single person? What brings up the most pain/confusion/frustration? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ XO, Kat P.S. If you haven’t snagged my Free Dating guide, go to bit.ly/trwdating + grab it! 📷 @morganashleyjo
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How can Christians be more welcoming to singles within their community?
I’m going to get real practical here since I touched on a lot of this in my previous question:
- Create a Culture of Honor
Our adult lives go from engagement parties, to bridal showers, to bachelorette weekends, to weddings, to gender reveal parties, to kids birthdays. I love all these things, but what if we created a culture of honor and celebration for singles? Whether that’s throwing a party for a promotion, getting debt free, buying a house or graduating with an MBA… Let’s create a culture that celebrates these different life stages with just as much fervor and excitement!
- Don’t be Weird
It’s like married friends get amnesia once they walk down the aisle, forgetting how painfully awkward singleness can be. Please stop saying things like, “how come you’re still single?” or “don’t worry, it’ll happen when you least expect it.” It’s unhelpful. Also, I know you’re so excited that we’re going on a date (we’re excited too), but please refrain from talking about our honeymoon or trying out his last name with ours. Even though this comes from a good place, it makes it more difficult to protect our hearts.
Set us up with your single friends and don’t make it into a huge thing. Don’t have a party and awkwardly force us to meet with a thousand eyes on us… But do e-connect us, letting us take it from there.
- Be Curious
It can be so easy to revolve conversation around our relationship statuses, just as it can be so easy to revolve conversation around kids once you have them. But remember: God created us all as multi-faceted beings with endless layers. Be curious about the whole of us.
- Get Uncomfortable
When I moved to NYC, so many Christian singles were sleeping around and nobody wanted to talk about it. It was baffling and felt like the elephant in the room that no one wanted to talk about. I know it’s hard to talk about things like sex, living together before marriage or things like porn and masturbation. However, we have to normalize these conversations, especially when the single population in our church communities continues to grow. God isn’t scared of our sexual desire. He’s not surprised, embarrassed or ashamed when we feel turned on—He created us this way. So, as a community instead of skirting around issues, keeping things in the dark, or simply not acknowledging things—what if we became a community committed to leading out in vulnerability and courageously talking about these things? I think it would release more freedom and breakthrough than we could ever imagine.
Wow, Kat! I feel like you just preached fire over me. Thank you so much for sharing this. Where are you registered as a single fabulous woman? Because I’m dying to buy you a fancy blender!