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Diary Devotional #6 – A Plan for Change
October 14, 2020, 1:00 PM

As I mentioned in the beginning of this series, since 1988, my life has been about radical change whether I wanted it to be or not. Becoming paralyzed at 23, becoming a follower of Jesus as an adult, and trying to create a new life with a family under those conditions have always presented unique challenges. My health has always been up and down. Even though I consider myself unworthy, God has always blessed and used me. He’s given me solutions for my problems in life. And, as I’ve always tried to share, the solutions follow common themes and traits that translate to anyone who is contemplating dealing with serious change in their life.

Another trial has presented an opportunity; doing a diary style devotional so that others under trial can follow along in real time and hopefully those that need can join with me as we problem solve, using the principles for change that I’ve used most of my adult life. I don’t know where this will lead, only that it will go somewhere and hopefully, you can learn as we struggle together!

 

Today’s the day! It’s time to bring about change. Have you considered it? I’ve dealt with hard change a lot in my life and I still feel the same when starting change; excited but nervous, hopeful but a little doubtful, anxious yet part of me wants to hold on to the disfunction I know.

Leading up until now, we considered several, preparatory steps. We considered the traumas and issues that lead us to a spot where we need real change. We looked at the truth of who we are and what got us there.

We took an honest look at all areas of our lives, realizing that problems, like true change, permeates all areas of our life. I showed you where I had fallen short, where problems had developed that was and was not my fault and considered what needed to happen to move forward.

We talked about making good decisions by entering a time of contemplation with God instead of lashing out at the first impulse solution that could harm us even worse in the long run. We set a tentative day to enact a plan and move forward to avoid getting stuck in a pattern that could become much harder later on to break out of.

During the contemplation period, we reminded ourselves who we are as a child of God and what we have available to us. We were reminded not to make our trial our identity and considered the difference between a reason and excuse.

Lastly, we considered what our focus’ were and how they affect our success or failure. We considered that change needs our focus in the long term and how many times we don’t give change the primary focus it needs and how that often results in failure.

So here we are, my big day and hopefully yours as well. Whether it’s a habit or a lifestyle change, how you interact with those around you or even simply wanting to take your relationship with God to the next level, there is no better day than today. Truthfully, as I write this, I’m sitting in a chair recovering from prostate surgery. Coronavirus exposure is decimating our free clinic staff, resulting in volunteer shortages. I still have bills to pay and I have a family that needs my attention. No stress here. But there is no perfect time to start. If I wait for it, I’ll still be waiting for that perfect time twenty years from now. So forward I go. More on how to deal with those other things as we go forward.

 

I’m going to submit a template, with my own information plugged in. I encourage you to make it your own.

 

1. Make sure God is the center. Morning Bible study, lunch time and evening prayer. It all starts with God. He is our strength. He has our answers. He is the primary key to all change. Many times, when we are in a trial, we slack up. We have to make an intentional effort to get connected and stay that way. At the right time, He will step up. Be persistent in the long term and you will get where He wants you to be. Pray over those areas that need change and be open to God’s leading to modify your plan as He shows you where to go.

I do morning Bible study for two reasons. 1) It carries over to the rest of my day. 2) I get sleepy in the evening. Not a morning person? Isn’t it worth a small sacrifice to God considering what He does and will do for you? It makes a difference. Daily habits are critical at this stage.

2. Physical – Get in the best shape possible. For me, medical problems are a large part of my trial. Others maybe not. Either way, physical health helps with all problems in our life. If your focus of change does not involve a medical issue, consider it anyways. The side effects of physical health is mental benefits. If you feel better, taking on change becomes that much easier, even if it is not your primary focus.

For me, I know I will have medical setbacks. My job is to be persistent but be smart. I have been involved with physical therapy for years, so I know what to do. But I have to find that sweet spot of exercising without aggravating problems I am dealing with. There is no reason to sit around doing nothing. But, too may times, we either sit around or go out and make things worse by trying to do too much. I would encourage talking to your doctor and enlisting physical therapy if needed. But don’t sit still. For me, I was sick non stop and couldn’t walk because of spine issues a little more than a month ago. Now, I’m walking again and hopefully, not sick after surgery. That comes from making my health a priority and learning my body so I can always be moving forward smartly even in the bad times. Once again, getting in a daily habit is the most important part right now. Real results will come, in due time.

3. Work- Develop good work habits, put work in it’s proper place, become efficient.  Our free medical clinic is in a growth period and it’s quickly going to become a mess if I don’t get it organized. As the volunteer director, I was the marketing person, the treasurer, the human resources person the policy developer, etc. I can’t do that by myself anymore. It could, very rapidly, take over my life. We did a lot in our first year, but now organization and delegation is the key. I need to check my work habits, spend the hours as needed, but be efficient with what time I do devote. Efficient planning is the key. I will take a brief time, to develop a to do list to get us where we need to be, including finding the right volunteers to help and train.

Also, work now involves a new venture. I know God’s given me a path to teach others. But I also know it has to be presented well. I’m rusty and things have changed a lot since I was involved in media twenty years ago. But I know that God has given me direction to go there, so I will, for now, develop this website and a You Tube channel and see where it leads.

Efficiency is a character trait that is quickly becoming a need. That will become a prayer need. I’m okay, but it needs work.

Family – Regroup and Refocus. The last couple of years have taken a toll on my family. My wife suffers from arthritis. My daughter is rapidly approaching adulthood. All of the turmoil has caused us to drift somewhat. I don’t want that to become a problem. But once again, I don’t want to try to change everyone at once, instantly. I want to begin to seek them out and forge new family habits through my example and be patient in doing so. We need to come together, and all have a voice and a part in how we grow together. If we had severe issues, I would make the changes in my own life, showing them it’s not a temporary change of my mind before I quit on them yet again. Then, as they saw my change, I would invite them to be part of it. I could very easily make their lives even worse if I make them change their lives just to suit me, only to quit on them with some excuse. But for us, in this area, we just need to stop some bad habits before they start. We do need to keep our house and yard better though. Given all the problems, we have been doing what we needed to do to get by. It shows a little bit. Having a clean well-maintained house is important. It makes you feel better when you are there instead of looking at a bunch of “to-dos.” Get help if you need it. Eliminating stress at home is important. If your family thinks it needs it and you don’t, go with them. Too many times when we’re in a trial, stuff piles up. That’s stress. It’s not worth it in the long run.

Remember, my primary focus is to relate to and serve God. If I’m just trying to make a change so I can go back to living for myself I’m making a fundamental mistake. God wants you to have peace. God wants you to have purpose. He wants you to have satisfaction. He considered you, personally, before the foundation of the world. He knows what He’s doing. For me, He’s given me all of my bucket-list moments while serving Him. Then, He gave me some even better ones. The only way you could not want that is to live a smaller life in a smaller bubble and not know any better. How’s that worked out so far?

Blessings!

 
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