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Grace -V- Goals

Andy Bunch

(Note this follows up on an idea started in This Post from earlier this week. )

We’ve all asked for things in the name of Jesus and not had it work out. We’re told that God won’t withhold any good thing from us and we pray in his name we will receive. In fact we’re told that we have not because we don’t ask, and we need to have faith that it will be done. (Psalm 37:4, Luke 12:32, James 4:2-3, Matt. 17:20).

One of the core things that goes wrong with goals is that we set them. They need to be the result of a prophetic process if we’re going to make progress, but there are a host of reasons why Christians don’t hear God when it comes to our goals. 

  1. Our goals are actually aspirations in the context of our larger purpose. Until we figure out what we’re here to do in partnership with God, goals that God helps me set won’t make sense. 
  2. God sets goals in partnership with a version of ourselves we aren’t seeing. We need to see ourselves the way God sees us in order to understand the goals on our hearts. 

Put another way, we are constrained to the level of our heart & soul health. The enemy gets to continually mess with us as we pursue the desires of our carnal heart, no matter how lofty and selfless those goals may be. 

So how do we set goals the right way if I’m a work in progress? We need to meditate for a bit on what Grace really is. (See the next section)

Even in the world they’ve noticed that we have to take our focus off the desired outcome to gain traction in our journey toward it (“the inner tennis match”). Focus on the outcome leads to “don’t screw up” thinking. We’re much more effective focusing on what it feels like when we’re doing it at our best. The gurus would say that its a mix of instinct and the hours of skill building to learn how to do it. In other words we’ve invested in achieving a certain level of success and you’ve hit the ball out of the park a few times, what state of mind were you in when you did it right. You probably weren’t thinking, “please don’t miss.” 

The gurus aren’t wrong, I just have a third source of right thoughts. By inviting God into your process you can have what Graham Cooke would call “brilliant thoughts.” These are thoughts about how to show up correctly in circumstances you haven’t even been in yet. It’s the next level of What Would Jesus Do? This is more like, by faith I know Jesus has the other end of this heavy burden we’re lifting, what’s our plan? 

Meditating on Grace for the Right Mindset 

What if we’ve had a wrong interpretation of Grace and righteousness? Before the world began God designed us to a purpose, which he never intended for us to do alone. Jesus said he only did what he saw his Father doing. An adult son of God and co-heir in Christ is restored to the family business. Your role in this season grows out of connecting the desires of your heart and innate abilities God gave you to work with, and a prophetically determined understanding of what God is up to in the world. There is a bridge there to be built and God uses his Grace and his righteousness to build that bridge. 

It will involve you building skills through perhaps thousands of hours of practice (honing your natural ability) or it might involve getting a degree/certification so the world acknowledges your right to serve in your role. It will involve solving problems for other people though we’re often tempted to make a lot out of that. Helping others is both noble and a source of income, however its an outcome. The time to consider outcomes is during planning and periodic review. We can’t focus on outcomes during performance or we’ll get so in our head we lose traction. 

Are you saying what I think you’re saying?

Yes! I’m literally saying that the key to getting into a state of flow in every area of your life is to stop focusing on your outcome in that area and start focusing on what you and God are doing together.  

There are several awesome definitions for Grace, and for Righteousness, but the combination of the two forces is a realignment of you between the design God had for you and what he’s doing right now. Setting our own goals the way the world does, by looking for the outcomes you want and creating a ladder that should lead you incrementally toward it, won’t work. Worse its a form of pride and self-righteousness. When we accept Grace then our own shortcomings stop applying. When we work in God’s righteousness then we are realigned as a conduit of what God is doing on Earth. See the graphic* 

Winning the Core Struggle of Christianity

Andy Bunch

(Note this is part 1 of 2 on this topic. Here’s the link to the second part when it posts.)

Like most human beings, we Christians want to figure out how to live abundantly. We want an amazing relationship with a loving spouse, to make money doing something we’re good at and that helps people, we want to be physically healthy and emotionally strong enough to deal with life without losing our positivity. 

This won’t seem very exotic, but the answer is living by faith. 

Now there is more to it, give me a second to explain. 

Sometimes we’ve heard the same thing in religious circles so much that it loses it’s impact. For example, the term Christian means being like Christ. At a 50,000 foot level every Christian has the purpose of becoming transformed to the image of Christ. 

I don’t know about you but I’ve heard pastors say that and wanted to gag. I want to be me. I want to have a special purpose on Earth. I feel like a puzzle piece in search of the puzzle that’s missing me–a place where what makes me come alive meets the needs of those around me in a way that just by being me I can point them to God. That excites me. Jesus was awesome, but trying to emulate him doesn’t excite me. I actually hope, and this feels awful to say but it’s true, I’m not that excited to be crucified for something I didn’t do.

I know I know…

I’m grateful that Jesus did that and I do want to love the way he loved, but being Christlike means something other than walking around in sandals, telling stories, getting crucified etc. Christ means anointed and Jesus exemplified a spirit-filled life. One of purpose. He was an adult son of God who saw what the father was up to and did likewise on Earth–which was how he brought God’s Kingdom to Earth. 

God probably has a slightly different purpose for me, even though the effect will be bringing His Kingdom to Earth. 

Why am I rabbit trailing about purpose?

Because the shortcut answer to how to have abundant life is to pursue your purpose. 

Let that sink in. 

It’s never about losing weight, going to bed on time, communicating with your spouse, etc. those might be things you need to do to work on that particular area of life, but think of the those things like branches on a tree. You won’t find success in those branches until you have a healthy trunk–which is pursuing your purpose with God. 

There’s several ways to look for your purpose. I love teaching those ways, but step one isn’t examining your passions or writing your story etc.

The Foundation for Finding your Purpose

So the oversimplified way to state this is learning to live by faith, which sounds really religious. It conjures to mind 30 day fasts and casting out demons or worse–don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t be friends with those who do. So gross. 

Living by faith is something we Christians talk about when we’re going to preach on avoiding sin. 

Here’s what I mean. God’s love looks like something. He’s your partner. He’s your power. He’s your provision. He’s your portion. 

What if you believed that God was providing for you abundantly. Would it be easier to eat less if you really know God was going to feed you again very soon? Would it be easier to be patient with your relationships if you knew there was enough time, money, energy to still get everything done you need to do. 

What does it look like to partner with God in every area of your life? What’s it like to actually treat your job as if you’re working for Jesus instead of that Jerk who calls himself your boss? What if stewardship isn’t just gritting your teeth and forcing yourself to be responsible. What if you really felt like you don’t own any of your stuff it’s just on loan from God for you to enjoy and innvest (without fear of losing it)? 

There is so much to learning to live by faith, it’s about changing the lens through which you view yourself and everything else. 

Think of it this way, God wants to give you everything you ask for (all your heart desires), but first he has to bring you to a place where you ask for the right things (not things that woud destroy you). 

What if religion has completely failed to train you what you should ask for because religion has it’s own agenda? 

God is faithful to complete the good work he’s begun in you. 

So what is Step One?

You need context. You need to know who God is for you outside of religion. You need to know…
who you are,
where you are,
how you got here,
where you want to go and
a little about what might get you there. 

Then you need to surrender everything to God and be willing to take some baby steps. Let’s talk, use the contact form on the website or email me…

Hey Christian: Is the Whole World Bad?

Andy Bunch

We need to decide if we believe the world is basically bad or basically good. As Christians we have a ton of bible verses, especially in the Old Testament that would indicate that the world is most assuredly evil. 

I’ve heard Christians say things like, the world belongs to the devil. I certainly can’t defend all the wrong doing, greed, and selfishness we encounter on a daily basis, but I think this is a really important point and we Christians get ourselves into a lot of trouble when we sort of skim through the instructions on topics like this. It hides prejudices we apply to others which they use as an excuse to hate us and the God we represent. 

But Andy, if the Bible says the world is evil then it is, right?

Well, yes, but is that all it says? 

1st where do we get the idea the world is evil. We know the world is fallen. We know the world is one of three things we Chrisians battle in spiritual warfare, but the other two are Satan and our own flesh. We don’t have a problem saying our own flesh is a little nuanced. Satan is clearly evil and in my opinion, beyond redemption, but my flesh is something to be circumcised from the new me in Christ. So is the world something to be redeemed or something beyond redemption? 

We need to answer this question because it determines who we are fighting. We’re told that we wrestle not with flesh and blood, but with spirits and principalities (Eph. 6:12-13).

Where do we get the idea that the world is beyond redemption? 

Frankly it serves organized religion, past and present, to keep people focused on Salvation as a get out of jail free card. One day we’ll go to heaven and our suffering will end forever, right? Yes, except we don’t spend eternity in heaven. Jesus brings us back to a new Earth. I won’t take time to proof text poker that one out, but it’s one of the top bad three bad theologies believed by most Christians that’s crippling our transformation and our ability to take up our purpose. (Two others are the rapture and believing that humans are only body and soul, ignoring the Spirit.)

The truth is that all of nature groans in eager expectation for the Sons and Daughters of God to be revealed. Not so we can tell them how wicked they are, but so we can lead them to the feet of God as an act of worship. 

They don’t follow you if you aren’t blessing them. How do you bless something you think is unredeemable? 

How you see people:

I think seeing the world as fallen and without any good has more to do with ourselves than biblical teaching. 

Most people either believe others are better than them, worse than them or about the same. We do this with God too, by the way. I think the modern Christian willingness to write off everyone who doesn’t philosophically align with them comes from a similar life lens, so baked in as to be an unconscious bias. 

Not since Calvin came up with predestination (which can’t be disproven BTW) have humans been so eager to embrace a superiority complex. Let me tell you my story and this will make more sense. 

How I started pondering this:

I woke up a few weeks ago hearing God say, “everyone who knows me is your brother or sister and everyone who doesn’t know me is your friend.” 

I had to ponder this and it led me on an awesome wild goose chase. 

I remember when I reconnected to God after my father died. I’d been raised a Christian but I didn’t get serious until my father died and my pain was so great I couldn’t do anything until I asked God to be my father.  When I asked that and God affirmed that he would, he showed me all the times in my life he’d pursued me. Like a movie, my life flashed before my eyes and he pointed out all the times when I was living in depravity and he’d sent me encouragement or guidance. 

If God was pursuing me when I was out of relationship with him, does God pursue everyone, even those he knows won’t ever choose him? 

I believe so. Its in God’s nature to love. He is love. He created Adam and Eve knowing they’d fall and his son would have to pay the price. 

We know Jesus endured the cross for the glory set before him (Heb. 12:2) and that he died for us when we were not his friends (Romans 5:8). 

We also know we are saved by Grace (Ephesians 2:8). So can God apply Grace to someone who hasn’t accepted it? There are Christians who will say yes. I’m not sure I’m going that far, but there is more going on here than the religion I was raised in represents and I’m determined to look at the details with God’s help before coming to a conclusion. 

Many people have wrestled with questions about the salvation of babies that aren’t born, or remote tribes that never heard the Gospel. I don’t have answers that can be proven, only my own beliefs based in part on who I know God to be. 

But regardless of how God applies grace in those circumstances, the question at hand is more about how we treat people now, not where they’ll end up. 

Ask yourself the question this way:

We don’t have a problem with the idea that God is love and unchanging before the Earth fell, and we don’t have a problem with any of that after the world is restored at the end of time. But isn’t there a ton of confusion about it all in this time of paradox. 

Adam and Eve sinned, and died for it, but not right away. Even in that moment of failure and judgment, there was restraint. God made a way. He knows the end from the beginning and exists outside time. Christ was crucified while God was forming the first couple out of earth and giving them dominion over it. 

1 John 4:7-12 says…

 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

That’s a lot to digest. I notice it doesn’t say our love is contingent on their salvation. We don’t know whether or not they are saved. God does. Does that mean God doesn’t love the ones that aren’t saved? This is a tough thing to ponder.

Grace

Graham Cooke says,”Grace is the power to work in the opposite of the natural.” 

What if it’s not about their status in Christ, but ours. If we are saved by the blood of Christ, then we need to apply to them the fullness of Grace, not from our own strength, but as a conduit of God’s ability to love them.

I know some of you think I’m conflating “the world” and “the yet-unsaved people of this world.”

Am I though? 

We Christians give ourselves a lot of false grace when we say, “I’m just a sinner saved by Grace.” 

This is more than just “hate the sin and love the sinner.” The worldly institutions that we see clearly in the unsaved are also at work in us. It’s hard to see the people and not the worldly ideology driving them. When the world looks at us they recognize it in us. They think we’re just uppity sinners. Sometimes it’s true. 

When I drive by two demonstrations, one in front of an abortion clinic and another in front of a prolife clinic I do see a lot more peace in the first. I see a level of transformed soul. But I can’t fault someone for saying, “I see two groups of angry people trying to force their will on others.” 

No cats were harmed in the writing of this blog…

Is this a cosmic version of Schrodinger’s cat? If you’re not familiar the scientist/philosopher proposed that if you put a cat in a box with no way out and poison, you didn’t know if the cat was alive or dead until you open the box. This meant that both possibilities existed in that moment. The cat was alive and dead in a manor of speaking. 

He didn’t do the experiment, by the way, it was a thought experiment. 

If we say that everyone on Earth is under God’s mercy and anyone who chooses to be is under God’s grace, I assume we’re all okay with that statement. 

Of course there are distinctions between our trust level with people we philosophically align with versus people who are perpendicular to our own values and worldview. There is a difference between a brother and a friend, but we can’t automatically say one is more reliable than the other.

For me, I come away from all this pondering valuing the idea that we’re all under God’s mercy and some of us are also under grace. I repent of seeing us and them. It’s all us, functionally. 

Feel free to disagree with me. Let me know. Use the contact me form or reply to this post. 

Until next time…

Rest

Andy Bunch

We know the enemy uses half truths to make us view the world through a lens that causes us pain and confusion. We know that half truths are easier to sell because they sound almost right. What we often don’t realize is that the enemy’s favorite kind of half truth is “the truth” out of context. 

Things like truth should be immutable–unchanging. However, Christians know that the real truth is a person. So what is really true in a situation is by definition a situational truth. When you are in Christ and Christ is in you, then you have access to truth in your circumstance, but it’s seldom something you could write in stone and apply at all times. 

Why am I going on about truth in a post titled, “Rest?” 

Well, rest is one of those things that depends on your circumstances. There is a great line in the movie Conan the Barbarian, “success can try  a man’s metal harder than failure.” If you had nothing but vacation it could be restful to get back to doing something. 

A good definition for rest would be, “cease doing what you have recently done too much of.” 

“Def: Rest is a change of pace from what’s been exhausting you. Sometimes you just need to break up the monotony.” 

Mike Galeotti

Most of us are chronically exhausted. The idea that we’ve been on vacation for months and would get recharged by working sounds counter intuitive, BUT the reality is that we’ve been trying to work harder and faster for months, and without results we crave a change. 

It would be restful to work less and gain more, but that sounds pretty pie in the sky, right? It leaves us focused on results, which we can’t control, so we work harder and harder trying to reach a plateau that never seems to arrive.

We find ourselves stuck in a cycle of  work and get tired, then rest and get even more tired. 

So what we’re really craving is leverage. 

Another interesting principle is that we often need to work our bodies to recharge our brains and work our brains to rest our bodies. It can be a balancing act, not one of monotony but of attaining an average balance by intentionally seeking to work this season what we rested last season. 

I grew up in a religion that put an emphasis on taking the seventh day off to rest. Except that by doing it religiously they turned into something that wasn’t very restful. Saturday’s have been some of my favorite days, but I seldom experienced that until after I left that religion. The focus was always on what you couldn’t do. It’s like when someone says, “don’t picture an elephant.” Suddenly all you can think about is an elephant. 

Religion always creates weariness because it’s by nature routine, and duty/obligation. 

God is the God of abundance. He’s trying to fill your life with good things. However, “good” can depend on circumstances. We can’t assume that someone who works all week would find a day of doing nothing to be restful. Making it a religious tenant for everyone guarantees that most of the people are experiencing something not at all restful. 

God worked for five days, then made man on the sixth day, then rested on the seventh. God wasn’t tired from working, and man just got created. Adam wasn’t tired. Resting with God has to be something more than taking a break from labor. Something like prioritizing relationship for a day.

I’ve given a lot of information in this post and I don’t have a nice piece of advice I can put a bow on for you. This is one you might need to meditate on with God. (Don’t be surprised if it ends up being the most restful thing you’ve done in months.

Going back to the idea that what we’re craving is traction/leverage. What if prioritizing peace and connection with God is the key to rest. What if its possible to reverse the work/tired then rest/more tired? I’ve had times in the Kingdom when I worked from a place of rest and ended my day energized and excited to start again tomorrow.  

What if the key is staying in a state of flow? What if we need to doing everything you do in a state of relationship is the secret to leaving the treadmill that’s had you exhausted? 

The American Dream

Andy R. Bunch

I love the American Dream.

Ideally, small business is the backbone of the economy because it can run on smaller margins, and provides goods and services that better fit the needs of the American Consumer. Instead of a ruling class and a serf class, we have a thriving middle class of people with the skill and opportunity to have living wage jobs, provide for their families and live in safe, comfortable neighborhoods protected by police and firemen. Above all Freedom. I love a free market where a good or service is offered at the lowest price it can be. And individuals are enabled to rise as far as their merit will take them instead of locked into cast or tradition. 

But somehow, the methods we employ to attain the American Dream took a bad bounce. I’m not talking about the government picking winners and losers based on race or political connection. Or the way Big Business loves Government and Government loves them back. Its true there is corruption of the dream at the highest level. 

I’m talking about what the dream was supposed to look like for you and the path you were told would get you there. You probably grew up hearing this, “do good in public school, go to college and wrack up tens of thousands of dollars in debt, work the same job for 30 years and then trust them to give you a pension that will sustain you until you pass away.”

That was a load of crap. Public schools (and most private schools) don’t teach you what you need to know to succeed. With very few exceptions, college doesn’t give you a degree that will open doors for you to earn back what they charge. You’ll have to change careers, not just jobs actual career paths, four or five times before you are too old to work anymore. The pensions are all broke, they were pilfered years ago. If you’re lucky they invested in a 401K and you have a little something to supplement your social security–if they still have that when you get there. 

Your Dream & How to Find it

I can help you find out what you really want your American Dream to look like in a long weekend. I can tell you what it’ll actually take to get you there in less than a minute, no matter what it looks like for you, if you have the guts to hear it. 

  1. Show up with excellence. (They used to call this the protestant work ethic. It made America great. You see it a lot in immigrants who know the real value of opportunity. ) 
  2. Earn more than you spend. (Stated conversely, live within your means.)
  3. Invest the difference to build passive income. (the margin between what you earn & spend is how you’ll come to a place where your investment income meets your monthly expenses. There are 3 basic paths to get there.)
  4. Use the new time freedom and your good reputation to impact others and change the culture for the better. 

The secret is figuring out how you create value. You must figure out what you are built to do and for whom. What is your purpose? What’s your personal core competency, your competitive advantage? I call it your Unique Value Add. (Purpose = Unique Value Add + Your Why.) 

There is a unique and authentic flow of Kingdom through you into the world. What’s blocking the flow of good through you? You should be shaping that flow of good based on your Unique Value Add, but instead something inside you constrains the flow to a trickle. 

The flow goes from inside out. If you don’t have on the outside, in your environment, what you think you should, or, if you don’t like your circumstances, chances are something is blocking you upstream–which is inside. 

That’s why ½ of all lottery winners are broke a few years later. Money runs the broken person like water through a siv. You need a process of becoming someone who is able to hold greatness in order to become someone who achieves greatness. Even if your greatness is just someone who retires healthy, happily married, and financially free. 

So here’s the tools you must have in your toolbox:

You must know…

  1. …who you are (includes things like purpose, why you exist and what you contribute to the world.)
  2. …where you are. (The real context, or story human beings are born into.)
  3. …a little about how you got here. (It holds keys to unlock everything else.)
  4. …where you really want to go. (Includes vision etc.) 
  5. …at least an idea of what you can do to get there. (it can evolve over time.) 

Use this link to schedule a zoom with me to talk about the best places to get those tools.

PS I’m not afraid of dying, I’m afraid of never having lived. 

Life Update

6/22/22

Andy R. Bunch

Welcome to SirBunch Blog. As I mentioned in my recent post “My Current Journey, Q3, 2022”  I’m going to do two basic types of post:
A) life updates about my health journey and
B) success posts around topics where I’ve personally researched/studied or had breakthroughs in living life more fully and wisely. 

What’s happening with this blog: 

My goal for SirBunch Blog – I’m looking for Christian writers and wisdom seekers. I want to audition new ways to live healthy, wealthy, efficiently and in positive relationships with God and other people. 

I’ve had a lot of breakthrough in many of these areas and in others there is room for improvement. I hope by reading this blog you won’t have to make all the mistakes I made to learn what I’ve been able to learn. I hope you grow closer to God as I consider him the source of every good thing you need in your life. 

Types of Blog Post Content

  1. This blog will review books and online programs aimed at areas like success, finances/investing, time management, health, spiritual growth, and the like. 
  2. I’ll also line out my own ideas, often based on combining what I’ve learned from those resources in the past or my own experiences. 
  3. The third and final stream of information will be these life updates, which allow you a window into what I’m taking on in this season. My hope is that by following along with how I’m living life right now you can watch how these theories play out in the real world. It’s messy, not tied up in a nice bow like the other types of posts. 

What’s happening with my health:

I just restarted Thrive by Level. I tried this product a couple of times in the past and I recall it working pretty well at aiding energy, digestion, relieving aches, and losing weight. This is my birthday season so I started it Saturday 6/11/22 and immediately left town for some time away with my wife. I didn’t get an opening “before” weight or measurements, but I’ll assume it’s 290lbs. I recently lost 25lbs using Optivia and regained it the month after I stopped (which I’ll post about in the future when I likely try it again.)

After 10 days back on Thrive I weighed 294lbs which likely reflects all the bad eating I’ve done for my birthday. The next day (day 11) I weighed 293.4 lbs. I do believe if I’m watching what I eat even in addition to Thrive I can lose between 2 and 3 lbs a week. I’m out of the habit of eating well, but I feel great–energetic. Thrive is good at helping digestion, removing body aches, promotes feelings of relaxation and energy. (Those are my experiences with the products.)

How you do it: 

Thrive works by taking their water soluble vitamins first thing in the morning and then drinking a shake made from their fat soluble vitamins 20 minutes later. 

They also have a patch that is supposed to make the effects last throughout the day. I’ve used the patch in the past and sometimes found it helpful, other times not noticed a difference. I’m re-auditioning Thrive right now to shake up my routine because I need to restart something.

Okay here’s the scoop about Optivia…

I lost a lot of weight with Optivia. But I feel like a lot of it was muscle not fat. I decided to rejoin a gym with a friend of mine and really loved it, but was horrified to find out how much muscle I’d lost. I also discovered that I can’t work out on the amount of calories I’m allowed to consume on that plan. 

So I went off the plan, which saved me money I could use to pay for the gym. However, I quickly put on the 25lbs I lost. So…I decided to restart Thrive, which let me spend, gym & Thrive combined, about what I’d spent on Optivia. 

That leads me to need to decide what I’m going to do for healthy eating outside of nutritional supplements. That’s a work in progress I hope to get back to this week. 

Update: This season I’ll be focused on Increasing H2O to right size my appetite, reducing carbs, not eating out as much, and since my wife is avoiding gluten I’ll be eating that way on our combined meals. Other than that it’s about Thrive and Working out 2 to 3 times a week. 

What’s happening with my house remodel? 

If you’ve followed this bog in the past you probably know that my wife and I are serial home remodelers. It’s not a healthy passion I encourage anyone to get into. Please do as I say, not as I do in this one area. It takes tremendous energy to constantly learn new home carpentry, plumbing, electrical, etc. skills. And it’s more expensive than a cocaine habit. 

However, my wife has great taste and I’ve learned a few things that did save me money (over having someone else do it, not over just leaving the house as is). 

So…we’re back at it. We moved my daughters room to my wife’s office (which was my office originally), then my office to my daughters room, and my wife’s office to the dining room. The family room, (which was also at one time my office) has become the new dining room. If you can’t follow that just picture rotating heavy things all over, including up and down stairs, over and over and over, while spending money at home depot like it’s water in the desert sun. 

Last week I began the bookshelf wall for my wife’s office. We have plans every weekend for the next…well for the rest of the summer so I’ll be working every day after 4pm when I get off work. 

Don’t try this at home. Just save yourself. Don’t do it. 

My Current Journey Q3, 2022

6/11/22

Andy Bunch

I’ve posted for a while now but I haven’t taken the time to explain to you, dear visitor, who I am, what this blog is about or why you should care to read it. There is a reason for that, but I want to be transparent, so let me explain.

I’m One of You: Intro to this Blog

When you study marketing, blogging, etc. you run into lots of advice from experts and its a good idea to pay attention so you don’t have to make all the mistakes yourself. However, their advice is often conflicting, for example…

Rule #1 is don’t be interesting, be interested. 

This blog is not about me. It’s about you, my readers. I desire to seek out the best ways to improve my quality of life so I can share it with you. I’ve made the mistake in the past of focusing on my journey so you could glean lessons with me. I’ve discovered a lot of people would rather just posted things like “do this not that,” or “5 things to avoid about X,” and skip the idea that you’re reading my journal or something. 

Rule #2 find your influencer persona and be authentic to it.

A persona is your approach to sharing things in your blog. There’s four to eight depending on who you read, but they include these two extremes…

  1. I am an expert who’s carrying your next breakthrough and I offer precise hacks to those who follow me.
  2. I’m a seeker trying to find X, and my audience can follow my journey and learn alongside me.

Of the two, I lean toward B.

Types of Prophet

There is a similar convention when you study your prophetic gifting (how you hear God for yourself and others). There are prophets (like Elijah) who proclaim what God says and let the chips fall. Others like Samual live with the people so long they earn a position of respect and can speak truth to people. Then there are the Nathans–those who are in the pit with you and because everything is chaotic and they have the most reasonable and calm idea of what to do next, people will give it a try. 

I definitely fall into the Nathan camp, which lends itself toward persona ‘B’ above. 

So I’m on the horns of a dilemma!

I’ve tried B and I love it. I see the advantage of it, but I think most of my audience (or potential audience) just wants the results of the journey. I’ve got a lot of breakthroughs, I’ve invested thousands of dollars and years of my life to get those breakthroughs and I’m happy to help you get there faster, for less money. 

So I’m stuck doing both. I don’t mind. I just feel like I should let the readers know what’s up. It could feel confusing, or like I don’t have a single voice, if I speak with authority in some posts and vulnerability in other posts. 

I have tremendous breakthrough and authority in certain places and I intend to give you the straight answers as best I can in those areas. Other areas, I’m still learning and paying the “hard knocks” price to gain the wisdom and breakthrough. 

I’m going to put all blog posts in a category called success when I’m sharing my breakthrough. And I’m going to share my journey in a category called My Journey. I’ll also mark all these posts according to what they most apply to like “Health,” or “Time Management,” etc. but you’ll soon notice that most of my journey is health related and most of my success is everywhere else.

I’m Officially Sorry (Not Sorry)

So there you have it. I apologize to those of you who need your mentors to be bulletproof purveyors of unassailable truth. Everything I know I learned by making mistakes or by sitting at the feet of fallible humans. 

I apologize for those of you who like the informal life updates about what’s working and what’s not, and wish I wouldn’t come off like I have all the answers. There is more than one way to win but if I find a way I’ll probably preach it as fact so you don’t waste time trying things I tried that didn’t work for me at all. 

Welcome to my blog, Wisdom Seeker. I hope you are informed and entertained. It’s going to be a wild ride. 

You’re Not Qualified to Judge…Yourself

Andy Bunch

I’ve had so many seasons in my life that were challenging that I’ve become a connoisseur of challenges. There are seasons where I have one extremely difficult obstacle that takes all I can throw at it–like trying to graduate college when one of my core professors absolutely hated me. 

There are seasons when I have too much small stuff on my plate and even the smallest thing seems impossible because I’m already overloaded. 

I’ve had seasons that were a combination of both, like when I got married. My wife and I were in love, but we’d had tragic past relationships and we both struggled to adjust to the vulnerability of our situation. Then we got pregnant right away and my wife was sick 23 hours a day. Our daughter was born eight weeks early and spent her first month in the NICU. I moved in with my wife when we got married and a month after my daughter got out of the NICU we moved back to Vancouver. It was nuts!

So I know about life in crazy turmoil. 

Like the time I fell in the ocean in Alaska and got hospitalized for pneumonia, or the job where I got threatened by gang bangers daily. But those are stories for another post.

Another kind of challenging season, and one I personally hate the most, is when I throw everything I’ve got at making a change and it doesn’t work. It’s called aspirational pain, and even though I’m not a “Type A” personality I do have expectations about what my life should look like. 

Then God Blew my Mind

During a season in my life where I felt particularly down, I heard the Lord say, “You’re not qualified to judge yourself.” It rocked me to the core, as so often happens when God speaks so clearly. 

This was a confounding statement. It ran completely opposite to the way I viewed life and how it works. It led me on another segment of my quest for wisdom that took several years to unpack.

First off, if I couldn’t judge me then who could? I mean of course God is my judge but does that mean I’m not sitting in judgment of myself also? 

Secondly, I spent a ton of time working to improve myself and how was I to improve myself if I didn’t know how well I was or wasn’t doing? 

It’s True Though

I don’t know the struggles other people face. I don’t know what they went through to get what they have, so I can’t compare my journey to theirs. 

I don’t actually know myself either. I don’t see the real me so I don’t know how far short I fall of my own potential. 

I don’t really know what sort of journeys God is taking me on to become who I really am, so I don’t know how far I’ve gotten on that path. 

I do know that my own idea of what I want evolves from year to year. I also know that God can make anything part of the plan to initiate and grow me (He is able to make all things work for good…). 

So the truth is, if you don’t know exactly where you’re going, or which of the many ways to get there you are on, how can you know if you are on track or on pace? 

There was something very liberating in this thinking. 

There was also something very depressing.

How am I to make plans with the Lord? I mean I’m promised that if I delight myself in the Lord, He will give me the desires of my heart. How do I explore the desires of my heart? Is there no such thing as goal setting in God’s Kingdom? It’s very confusing. 

After a lot of moping, I’d end up setting goals again. It would work for a time, and then it became a list of things to fail at. I’d be depressed all over again. Wasn’t God the least bit interested in changing my life? 

The Paradox…again!

I have a purpose and God’s very invested in it. He does reveal to me what his plans are. In fact Jesus said, “I’ve withheld nothing from you.” 

The Christian pat answer is–don’t try to do it in your own strength. “Let go and let God.” Etc. It’s not wrong, but I needed a little more specific applicable knowledge to make that thinking work for me. 

In the world, outcomes are everything. Some people are obsessed with outcomes. We’re trying to observe the cause and effect relationship with our own actions and then hack it so we get where we’re trying to go. (In instinctive archery we call this Kentucky windage.) 

That’s not entirely wrong either. If you don’t poke your head up once in a while you will find the currents of your life will drift you into the same situations repeatedly. For many of us those default circumstances are unhealthy. Eating too much, sleeping too little, drinking too much, tragic love affairs, and so on. 

We do need to take time in some seasons to autopsy our thinking and actions, to reverse engineer what’s bringing us to our outcomes. 

On the other hand, if we only take actions that we believe will lead to the desired outcomes we live in denial of our own lack of perspective. 

Walking by Faith Means…

…doing things that don’t make sense. It’s good to apply human wisdom to problems if God isn’t weighing in with better wisdom. What generally happens is that God indicates a direction that doesn’t look like it would work. 

Poor Gideon had to give up most of his army, his swords and his shields. The children of Israel marched around a walled city and shouted at it. You think you got problems?!? 

In order to ignore God’s leading we stop listening to Him entirely. We forgo intimacy for the sake of doing what makes sense to us.That’s the opposite of the 23rd Psalm. David said, I take comfort for thou art with me. Not, I’m sure glad God only asks me to do things I agree with. 

Why don’t we already have our destiny?

Hey, no blame, no shame. I constantly feel like I’m behind schedule on my life’s purpose. Abraham was supposed to be the father of many nations. He wanted it, God wanted it for him. He didn’t get a son till he was 100 years old. 

The fastest way to bring favor into your life is swift obedience to the things that require faith. 

Let me put it a little differently. My purpose in life is to help people unlock their Authentic Life Adventure. Basically find and live their purpose. There are a number of ways people can help you “find your why” that will work just fine. The thinking is, since knowing your purpose is very motivating, once you know what it is you’ll engage with it. 

I’ve discovered the opposite is quite true. Once we get some roadblocks out of the way, having a clear purpose does propel us to a life of meaning and fulfillment–yes! But just knowing what you were born to do is often not enough. The same “stuff” that makes it hard to see your purpose will cloud your ability to take baby steps toward your destiny. 

There is a process to discovering who you are…

…and it starts with unlearning who you are not. We can’t find and own our true identity until we fix our relationship with the one in whose image we are made. It’s a process of intentionally receiving from God, engaging with what he gives you until it transforms you, and handing it off to those around you. 

Schedule a zoom call with me and lets talk about it using this link.

Risk

Andy Bunch

Mike Row, of dirty jobs fame, tells a story about filming an episode of Wicked Tuna, when a giant storm rolls in. Mike shouts to the Captain of the ship over the storm, ever have run-ins with OSHA? The Captain shouts back, “It’s my job to make you rich, it’s your job to get home with it.”  

What if it’s really safety third?

Mike’s reaction was to think, “What if I’ve been wrong all this time? What if it’s really safety third?” 

I remember in college, learning about ancient Polynesian cultures where a young man would have to build a boat, sail from one tiny dot in the ocean to another, navigate by the stars, fish for his meals, impress a father and bring home a bride before he could be treated as a man in his village. There was a very real chance of death, and that was seen as a healthy thing for a young man. 

These days the enemy of society has become “risk.” Not pain, not disaster, not death, just the fear that any of those things could happen. They just shut down everything over a disease with a similar death rate to the flu. I swear they’re going to put pool noodles on all the curbs and require us to wear helmets to walk outside. Sometimes people die as a result of trying not to. (Vaccines adverse reactions.)

I’m not advocating for taking foolish risks, but I believe a life with the core motivation of safety will lose everything worth living for. 

Albert Schweitzer said, “the tragedy in life is what dies in a man while he lives.” 

You cannot have Love without Risk

When God was forming Adam with His own hands and breathing life into him, He was fully aware that it would cost Him his son. Our example from God the Father, in whose image we’re made, is that you don’t let a potential bad outcome stop you from loving. 

You cannot have Faith without Risk

Hebrews 11:1 defines Faith as, “…the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” 

You must at least risk being wrong to believe in God. In fact many people who don’t believe in God make faith statements all the time. There’s a prevailing thought out there that the Polar Ice Caps are going to melt and flood the Earth. They can’t prove it, they just believe it. 

Faith without works is dead, so if you’re like me you believe we need to take action on our beliefs. What compelled Abraham to leave home for Ur? Or David to take on Goliath? Or Moses to confront the Pharaoh? The scriptures are full of commands to do things that are very dangerous. 

You cannot have Freedom without Risk

Consider the scene in Braveheart, when William Wallace is speaking to the men before the Battle of Stirling. He asks, “fight and you may die, run and you’ll live. But dying in your bed someday, would you be willing to give all the days from this day until then for just one chance, just one chance, to come back here and tell the British that they may take our lives but they may not take our freedom.” 

The moment your enemies determine that you will not put your life on the line to stay free, they will take your freedom. They offer you peace only under condition of slavery. 

Everyone seems to have a beef with “Millennials”. We’ve raised a generation intolerant to risk and in doing so, we’ve raised them with a stunted experience of Love, of Faith, and of Freedom.

Second Hand Lions

 Clip ( https://youtu.be/y1-KbmIagFw )

Boy: Those stories about Africa are true aren’t they?

HUB: Doesn’t matter.

Boy: It does too. Around my mom all I hear is lies. I don’t know what to believe.

HUB: Dam, if you want to believe in something, then believe in it. Just because something isn’t true doesn’t mean you can’t believe in it.

HUB: There’s a long speech I give to young men, sounds like you need to hear a piece of it. Just a piece. Sometimes…the things that may or may not be true are the things that a man needs to believe in the most. 

  • That people are basically good.
  • That honor, courage, and virtue mean everything.
  • That power and money, money and power, mean nothing.
  • That good always triumphs over evil. 

And I want you to remember this, that love…true love never dies. 

You remember that boy, remember that. 

It doesn’t matter if they’re true or not, you see. A man should believe in those things, because those are the things worth believing in. 

Book Review: Atomic Habits

Like most good nonfiction books Atomic Habits (2018) blends scientific proofs with real life examples.

Approach:

This week we’re reviewing Atomic Habits by James Clear.

Book Goal:

Provide a proven framework for changing and creating habits.

Target Audience:

People who want achieve more by harnessing the power of incremental change.

What makes the Book Unique/Good?

There are a lot of books that cover habits and several that cover the same proven techniques. In a way their isn’t a ton of new items in this book, if you’ve read some of the other books I’ll be recommending in this feature of my blog. However, you can’t take a friend to coffee without someone recommending this book, and there is a reason it has gotten so popular.

Clear has a simple and direct writing style that appeals to busy professionals looking to improve life without taking a weeklong spiritual retreat. This is also the first book I’ve come across that puts all the training about habits in one place and devotes the entire book to it. Everyone else is trying to make another point and the latest training habit improvement is just one of the tools in their system. Clear leaves it up to you what habits you want to make or shed. It’s worth reading.

Key Points:

Habits are automated behaviors we picked up experientially.

Small habits have a big impact on your life for good or bad. To leverage this, the author recommends creating habits that are so small you almost can’t do them. A famous example of this would be flossing one tooth. Clearly once you do one tooth you’ll probably finish the job, but by declaring it a victory to do just one tooth you feel a little silly if you fail to do that.

The cornerstone of making habits are hard to miss cues and a plan of action.

People are motivated by anticipating reward so motivate yourself to adopt the new habit by making the habit attractive.

An attractive habit is immediately rewarding, not delayed gratification.

Tracking habits increases your success. So does a contract with yourself that you make know to others.

The author recommends what he calls habit stacking. This concept is about associating a new habit with a well established habit. For example I once added five push-ups after each time I brushed my teeth. It worked well and I was able to do an extra 10 to 15 pushups a day.

Synopsys:

I’d recommend this book. In my own Adventure Consulting Business creating habits is a one of two components of life change. If we want to have the life we desire then we’re going to have to build skills like effective life change.

The two ways human beings establish lasting change are:

  1. Taking Journeys of self discovery, healing, or growth.
  2. Incremental change by designing a lifestyle that moves you slowly toward your goals.

We need both. One method will work for some kinds of change and the other works for the other kinds of change. Some people suck at either method, but most people are good at one or the other. Very few of us have an effective framework for doing both.

So if you want to work with me on this and other methods of life improvement please contact me using the contact form on this website.

Or you could buy and absorb this and all the other books and trainings I’ll be recommending in this blog–a method that could easily run you $25,000. Leveraging my breakthrough will save you time and money. Working with me will target what’s holding you back at this time and create a plan for overcoming that, as well as a set of next steps to move you toward a life of passion and profit with a purpose.