I either learned this song – "Poor Old Michael Finnegan", as a child or when I had children and I sang songs to amuse and quiet them; I'm going with the latter. Here is the first of many verses:
There was an old man named Michael Finnegan
He grew whiskers on his chin-negan
The wind came down and blew them off again
Poor old Michael Finnegan, Begin Again
In singing this song, I was teaching my children that there are many opportunities for new beginnings. We often choose to begin again on the cusp of a new year but every day, every hour, every minute, every second and every moment is an opportunity to begin again. Begin - to start anew. Again - another time, once more.
Begin again - start fresh, once more. This is the essence of hope because hope is inbred in us. Some days or years it seems like our best-laid plans get blown away like the whiskers of Michael Finnegan. The winds of timing change our plans; the winds of discontent stir up our souls; the winds of missed opportunity, soured relationships or closed doors seem to blow at us and remove even the thing that seems immovable - our will. And we become despondent and say poor me - just like poor old Michael Finnegan.
But we can always begin again by:
Fortifying our minds - As you think, so you are (Proverbs 23:7). If you're always indecisive or double-minded, you will be unsure about most things (James 1:8). But we have a resource available to us - God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of love, power and a sound mind (2Timothy 1:7) - a sound mind that will allow you to begin again.
Establishing our plans - Your plans aren't yours alone but rather God speaking and working through your life. So run them by Him, commit them to Him (Proverbs 16:3). Be sure your desires are in line with His desires for you (Psalms 37:4).
Relying on the unseen - Trust in the Lord with all your heart; in all your ways acknowledge Him (Proverbs 3:5, 6). Plans fail for lack of counsel but with many advisors, they succeed (Proverbs 15:22). Make your chief advisor the unseen God.
Living to please Him - When you spend time with God, you learn what pleases Him. Read the Bible, pray and take time to listen. Use the principles found in scripture to dictate how you manage your life. You will be blessed when you make a choice to let Him order your steps. (Psalms 1)
Pushing Forward - Persevere. You are not in this life alone. As you rely on the unseen God and the Advocate He has left with us, He will give you the strength to persevere, and like Paul be able to say - "...But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:13, 14).
Michael Finnegan - a fictional character in a nursery rhyme that is perpetually long; all the verses a variation on the theme of never giving up. As we start the New Year we are prone to making bold declarations of what we will do and how this New Year will be different than prior years. Those declarations don't change the New Year instead we need to change. We need to be willing to spend time listening, and doing what God has prepared for us. You may become a world changer or just change a corner of your world. But if God is in it and we're focused and committed to Him, we can continue to begin again without becoming despondent. If the fictional character Michael Finnegan can begin again, so can you.
"May He give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed." -Psalms 20:4
Are you ready to begin again?
I take my faith seriously as it is intertwined in everything I do. One of the things one of my children told me is that she doesn't understand why Christians don't talk about certain things. I don't either, so I write about everything but always from a Godly perspective.
It is my prayer that you are encouraged as I share my thoughts with you. I can be found online on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.