Beautiful Between

living fully in the now & not yet

This is the question you should be asking this year

woman journaling the question you should be asking

It’s January and, like clockwork, we start looking ahead. The New Year is just an arbitrary marker on the calendar, but it still holds this special power over us. 

There are so many ways to change our lives, aren’t there? We can read more, lose weight, start a new hobby, or finally train for that marathon. We can pray more, read the Bible more, go to church more. There are countless things we can do to make this the year we want it to be.

Can I be honest, though? I’m not thinking about what I want to do this year.

Instead, I’m thinking about who I want to be. And I’m realizing those perspectives are completely different.

I suppose it makes sense to me – I’m wondering why it’s taken so long to make this shift. I’ve always been more identity-focused than goal-focused. I’ve never been very driven by lofty goals or metrics; they don’t matter much to me.

But what does matter deeply is who I am. It always has.

Yes, there were long years when I didn’t like who I was. I fought for superhuman perfection, thinking if I could do everything right, I’d be better. I would be someone else.

Yeah, we know how that works.

Years of growth, work, supportive loved ones, and therapy are changing that. These days, I really like who I am.

More than that, I’m learning to value myself and act like it. There’s a verse about marriage that says, “No one hates their own body, but nourishes and cherishes it.” The idea is that we’re supposed to love our spouses and nurture them just like we would our own bodies.

It’s been easier for to nourish and cherish someone else. The way my husband and I care for each other exposes ways we haven’t been as good to ourselves. While we may not prioritize it for ourselves, we want each other to eat well, to get enough sleep, to relax, to pursue passion and joy.

This life-giving love has a surprising thread: we each want to nurture the truest version of the other. We want to nourish and cherish each other’s identity.

Isn’t this the core of all great love, full acceptance, and benevolent care? This is the love of every good parent. It’s the love of God and the love we’re called to for “our neighbors as ourselves.”

Caring for yourself

Is it hard for you to extend the same care to yourself? It might show up in the plans and big goals. You have this idea: a weight loss number or pants size, a dollar amount or a timeline for something to happen.

Maybe you’re sure, this will be it! This time I’ll do it! Still, something feels too restrictive, oppressive, and your heart secretly wilts. In a painfully honest moment, you might realize you’re not too happy with who you are, and these resolutions seem like a way to become somebody else.

Oh, friend. I get it. My heart aches with you. It’s a tough place to be.

Maybe you didn’t even make resolutions because you think you’ll fail. Or you feel a bit behind, while everyone has their plans in place. Either way, there’s a hissing whisper telling you it’s because you’re not good enough, can never live up, so why even try?

We all do this, pendulum-swinging between perfectionism and discouragement. We might want the goals because they make us feel like we’ll be better if we can do better. So we load ourselves down with impossible expectations and shame when we don’t meet them.

But is the schedule, the regimen, the burden of shame, is any of it getting you closer to who you want to be?

Because if we care more about what kind of people we are than about hitting any specific goals, our actions will follow. And we’ll probably find that who we are is great – we just need to cultivate and grow into ourselves more. There’s more at risk if we aren’t intentional with cultivating that identity – if we don’t do it, we betray ourselves.

So perhaps we can take a break from resolutions, goals, and beating ourselves up to make room for this:

Who do I want to be this time next year?

Because if we really make space to think about this, the actions become clearer. If I know who I want to be, I’ll instinctively know what that kind of person does. 

As you consider who you want to be, I’ll share some of my thoughts:

I want to be somebody who knows herself well enough to give generously of herself, in ways that are most valuable to others. Somebody who says no when needed to make room for the right yes.

Somebody who makes room in her life for what matters most, including margin for unexpected opportunities to love people well.

Somebody who cares for herself unapologetically. Someone who appreciates the wonder of living in a human body, nourishes it and keeps it healthy and strong.

I want to be somebody who walks in faith and faithfulness, with God, my people, and the dreams entrusted to me.

Somebody who keeps going when the going gets tough. Who courageously confronts lies and limiting beliefs at each new level.

I want to be more of the woman I believe myself to be. More of me.

Who do you want to be this time next year?

We’re going to spend the next few weeks talking about how to become that person. Keep watching this space for the next few weeks, and subscribe below to make sure you don’t miss a thing!

In the meantime, I’d really, really love to hear about who you want to be! Please leave it in the comments or email me at As always, I’ll read and treasure every note <3

13 Replies

  1. Sarah, I’ve never been a resolution person, but I have jumped on the word-of-the-year bandwagon this year. My word: INTENTIONAL. I will let this word guide my decisions and what I do throughout the year. This time next year, I want to be a much more intentional person, making sure each action I take is leading me to becoming more of myself.

    I feel like I’m a matryoshka doll (a Russian nesting doll) sitting on a shelf. I look at this doll every day and say, “how nice.” This year though, I’m going to take her off the shelf and, with intention, remove the outside doll, then work through the layers until I get to the smallest doll, the essence of who I am.

    That is the prize!

    I’m looking forward to this journey. It helps to know that you are on this journey, too. I always look to your words for encouragement, so thank you in advance! May each day in your journey find you more “yourself” than you’ve ever been (which is almost unfathomable to me because you’re already really awesome!).

    1. Carol, I love the image of the matryoshka! It’s a good journey to be on. Difficult at times, but also full of joy. Thank you, as always, for such kind words!

    2. Rock on, Carol! I love that imagery.

  2. This is really good Sarah! You nailed it. Knowing who you want to be, you can start take steps to get there. Great article!

    1. Thank you so much, Dave!

  3. If anyone I know can talk about focusing on character, rather than metrics – it’s who. I think knowing yourself the way you do makes you super intentional with how you live your life…and it makes me one lucky guy to count you as a friend. I love this post, as usual. Looking forward to the coming weeks!

  4. Anonymous

    Thanks once again for your vulnerability. I would say I want to be more in tune to hearing what God says about me and not giving into the lies that say I’am not enough or whats the use when it gets hard to keep going forward.I’am learning to accept that I don’t have to understand everything before I can move forward.It’s so special to see how God is leading you and giving you the strength to pursue His ways for your life.Thanks again for sharing,Amy

  5. Amy

    I didn’t mean to be Anonymous.I forgot to put my name first.

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