You got owned

Happy New Year! I was listening to the radio the other day and they asked how long after the first of January you can still say “Happy New Year”? I think you can still say it if it is the first time you talk to someone after the first, so there you have it. Happy New Year.

Last year I wrote a column about New Year’s revolutions. That was not a typo. A commercial I watched had a man talking to children and the child mistakenly called it New Year’s revolutions. While it was supposed to be funny, it got me thinking about my own need for a revolution. 

Last year I wrote, “I am handing this year over to God. Every other year I hoped that I would do something great to make it a great year. The truth is the ability to have a great year is a matter of letting God work through every event in my life so that when this year is done (this life I guess as well) people will see our lives and say, “God is so good.” So that was my New Year’s resolution: to revolt! 

The year 2013 was so bad that I felt like I had been beat down, chewed up and spit out. I made the decision that I would not let 2014 leave me feeling broken. I made the decision that I would own 2014. Changing your attitude and mindset can’t keep bad things from happening but it can keep those bad things from leaving you feeling broken.

I cannot fully describe what a great year it was once I decided it was no longer my year, but rather it was God’s year. I feel as though this was one of the better years in my life. It was not a perfect year nor was it a year without heartache and struggle, but it was a year full of grace. It was something I wished I had figured out 33 years ago.

Giving my year to God means giving everything to Him. In the midst of the anger at the end of 2013, I sat on my couch yelling at God that I had given Him everything and this is what He does to me, and in the still, silence of my heart, I heard Him loud and clear saying, “You didn’t give Me everything. You didn’t give me this pain.” 

It was the truth. I held onto my pain so tightly because it was my pain. It was my claim to life being unfair. It was my excuse to wallow in my own pity. It was right to be angry. This was exactly why I knew it was the voice of God. I didn’t want to let go of my pain. 

The problem with holding on to things, is that when we do this, we leave our hands closed to receive anything. I had closed myself up to receiving the graces God was trying to give me. So I made the decision to make that change. I figured that like all other resolutions, I’d be done by February but it was at least worth a shot. As a control enthusiast, it was difficult to give up control of my life. The more I continued to give God everything the easier it became. Something bad would happen and I would remind myself it wasn’t my pain. Something good would happen and I would share my joy. I even began giving Him the indifferent. The change was evident in all aspects of my life. I was less stressed and more faithful. 

So if you have not made a New Year’s resolution yet, or if you have already broken yours, let me pass along this suggestion: give Him everything. Give God the good, the bad and the ugly. If you need some words to help you on your way, pray “Jesus, I surrender myself to You, take care of everything.” I promise you, that by giving God the year you will feel like you owned it yourself!

Anchor columnist Amanda Tarantelli has been a campus minister at Bishop Stang High School in North Dartmouth since 2005. She is married, a die-hard sports fan, and resides in Cranston, R.I. She can be reached at

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