Fun, Amazing, Etc.

This is the official blog of indie author / adventure writer Andy R. Bunch, author of the fantasy book, "Suffering Rancor." As always, I'll post funny or amazing things I find in my travels or from poking around online. This is a great place to kick back and relax a bit. You may note that I’m not too clean or too dirty. For more information on my book, go to Here are links to first two books and

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Big One You've Been Waiting For!

I’ve had a great awakening, long overdue if you ask those close to me, but none the less it feels great. So much ground work goes into understanding something quite simple that I’m again faced with the question of writing one mammoth blog post, or trying to create a series. I’ll just write it and look for good spots to break it up.

The key point is something Jack Canfield describes with an equation, E + R = O (Event + Response = Outcome). 

It’s obvious in the first blush, and I hate when people belabor a point, but some recent events lead me to a closer look at this concept and I really think it’s worth it, so bear with me. Yesterday I met with a potential client. She’s a remarkable lady with a great life adventure that needs telling, but something she said stuck with me all the way till this morning. She said I used to let all this get to me, and I wasn’t the kind of person I wanted to be. God led me to realize that it doesn’t matter what happened to me (outside my control) it’s me that kept letting it affect me.

And there it was. As simply and clearly stated as you could ask for and I’m smart enough to keep rolling it around my brain but sadly, not smart enough to grasp it until God sent wave after wave of reminder. I know you’re probably thinking that I’m being rough on myself—18 hours isn’t that long to ponder something before you wake up to it. Well, this client wasn’t the first person to speak to this topic.

Earlier this month, I went to an event by Ted Dekker. It was really good, and it was fun to get to meet him after and get an autograph, etc. A couple things he said stuck with me, the first I’ve covered in another blog, at least a little. It involves realizing that we can’t improve ourselves so much as we can acknowledge that we are already perfect in God. In other words, stop comparing yourself to others and striving to be more acceptable, and start acknowledging that God has thoroughly completed you in Christ. Since you are restored, live from that and be the real you, the best you that you can be.

The second aspect I kept pondering, and can now unpack, is something I thought I understood already. He said we think we’re physical being’s having a spiritual experience, but we’re really a spiritual being having a temporary physical experience. When you look in the mirror or at your resume etc. you are tempted to believe that those things you observe are who you are. They are not. You are not an athlete, an engineer, a father, a husband, an American, etc. Those are true about you but they are not who you are. You are something much deeper, which only God can establish in you.

As I mentioned, I didn’t throw a lot of thought behind this because I’d encountered similar ideas before. I’ve written a great book with author/speaker Janice Seney, called “On Becoming a Man,” In which we delve thoroughly into the concept of physical reality verses the deeper, inner man.

So now we reach a place where I have to choose an approach to explaining my revelation. I hope I don’t lose you, dear reader, for the path I’m choosing will take you in a bit of an arc to get where we’re going. Hang in there.

In the book, “On Becoming a Man,” we prove from the bible that God created us in three parts, Body, Soul, and Spirit. This is a groundbreaking concept to folks currently in religion as well as those in the “secular” world. Most of us understand that we have a physical and a metaphysical existence, but few of us understand that God (who is three parts) built us in His image (in three parts). It’s vital to grasp this concept.

BODY: We get this pretty clearly, I think. Not very controversial. Even so we tend to confuse physical fact with truth, and they are not actually the same thing. Fact is physical and truth is Spiritual, in between those we have a soul level concept called perception.

SOUL: That we have a soul isn’t controversial but it’s misunderstood. Early explainers of SOUL include Plato, with his allegory of the cave and concept an ideal plain. Also, Carl Jung with his concept of the collective unconscious. Even the movie the Matrix expresses the idea of SOUL, perhaps better than anyone else has to date. What these explanations have in common, and where they fail, is attributing all non-physical things to SOUL. SOUL is really our mind (intelligence), will power, and emotions. It’s our place of interaction with the souls of others and it’s a collection of assumptions about how the physical world works (paradigm).

SPIRIT: The spirit is ideal. That’s why it’s so misunderstood. It’s hard to conceive of anything perfect, much less a perfection living inside us. If you’re a Christian you’re probably already rebelling against the “New Age” concept of God inside us, but Christian’s really need to stop labeling some things as safe, or good, and by extension, other things entirely bad.

On a Side Note: The reality is that we are in a fallen world and you need to be personally responsible for maintaining a vertical relationship with God that lets you filter the impure from the sacred. There isn’t really an acceptable grey, and by the same token, there is no grey that is really black trying to sucker you in. It’s all grey, it’s all subversive, and you are actually immune to all of it as long as the treasure of your heart is Jesus. He came to earth and it didn’t infect Him so He’s really good at scrubbing the muck off you. That’s the central truth of the good news!

Back to SPIRIT: Since God built you in His image and knew you before he created the world, then He knows who you ideally are and that’s what He restores you to in Christ. Many Christian’s really struggle with this concept. They point to verses that say, man’s heart is dark and knows no good, blah, blah, blah. God also promises to give you the desires of your heart. Why would he give you the desires of your dark heart? Obviously, He’s talking about your redeemed heart.

Here’s your shortcut to understanding/remembering the concept. Our body is the temple of God. The temple had an outer courtyard, a holy place, and a most holy place. God personally dwelt in the Most Holy Place. When you don’t have God there, you are spiritually dead, BUT when you invite Christ into your heart (the most holy place) then your spirit is restored. Suddenly you have a good heart. Evil doesn’t coexist with God.

Now, how do we explain all this blurry grey in our lives? That all takes place in the SOUL (holy place) and the BODY (outer courtyard). Jesus said we aren’t defiled by what enters us, but what comes out of us. He also said where your heart is there your treasure lies. It adds up to mean if we live from inside out instead of outside in, we can be on this world and not of it. We can stop worrying if God is behind something because we associate it with something bad. We are not defiled by the filth of the world around us unless we choose to allow it in, and then it only goes as far as our heart, not inside. More on that in a second.

I have to finish this rabbit trail with the most rebellious thing any Christian will ever say, “Everything here is flawed, and God is everywhere so there is nowhere that you can go that is completely sacred or completely evil. I’m not recommending you go certain ‘bad’ places, but if you do, God will be there. Likewise no matter how comfortable you are in your church, demons are there and they have twisted elements of that environment to reinforce negative aspects of your human nature. EVERYTHING here is impure and your only recourse is to live from inside out. So yes, even the new age folks speak truth once in a while. Should you look there for truth-I’m not saying that. But just because they said it doesn’t make it wrong. Therefore, when you invite Christ into your heart, God dwells inside you.”

TAKE A BREAK: Congratulations, you’ve made it through some heavy stuff. Unfortunately, none of that is what I grasped this morning and wanted to blog about. Sorry, that’s just something you have to get in order to get this next part. This will bring it full circle.

Whenever we decide to let something dark into ourselves, it goes as far as the outer wall of our heart and stops. It never enters the Most Holy Place. It can’t. Instead it clogs up the entrance and eventually encircles the most holy place and eventually we start living from our SOUL instead of our SPIRIT. It actually hurts to not be in touch with our heart (Most Holy Place) because we crave intimacy with our Father who dwells there. We encase our most holy place in flesh in order to not go there. It’s the scar tissue around our hearts which we use as a defense mechanism, because God asks us to do things we feel are risky. (God says, love your neighbor. I did that once and got burned. Now I disregard my heart so I don’t hear God asking me to do something I’m not comfortable doing.)

That’s actually the default situation for most human’s, Christian or not. What? That’s right, Christ died to redeem the world to Himself. Salvation awaits only your acceptance. Your SPIRIT is dead if you have ignored it so long that the presence of God is not there, but nearly always people have invited Christ into their hearts and simply don’t feel transformed because they let their hearts become walled off.

This isn’t the approach I thought I was going to take but it’ll work. So now you have the foundation to understand where I’m coming from when I say this next part.
E + R = O (Event + Response = Outcome)

Sin happened to us. That’s the E. There’s lots of little E’s, yes, but that’s the big E. That’s the circumstance we live in. Your reality is, that you can live from the ideal you any moment you decide to, but you seldom do. I’m in the same boat. The reason I don’t, and the reason you don’t is because our R (responses) don’t make up for our E (situation) and we therefore don’t get the O (results) our hearts desire. And there’s two simple reasons our responses are inadequate.

1.       We don’t see the difference between E and R. Legitimately, we can’t change our E--we are sinners and we can’t fix that. Jesus died to fix E. Most of us have tried to change E for ourselves and we feel so powerless we don’t try anything else. We don’t to differentiate E from R so we don’t try to do anything about R. We can make headway with R if we co-labor with Christ by living from inside out. We do affect our O.
2.       Changing R involves risk. You want a different outcome, you better try something different—or UNFAMILIAR. Unfamiliar is always a little frightening, but usually it’s much worse than that. We’ve tried everything we can think of. All that remains is something really risky. The answer calls for personal sacrifice, putting security at risk, trusting someone, losing some control, retrying something that ended in disaster, forgiving someone who wronged you, and so on.

Hey, if success were easy everyone would be doing it.

In Recap:
Life is life and we’ve no control over circumstances or events, but we have 100% control over our response, therefore we can work for better outcomes.
The reason we don’t change R, is because it involves personal risk.
Most successful people have a habit of doing what others find uncomfortable.
The question in a bad situation is, “What response would bring the outcome I want? Or, what response would I take if I ignored risk?” (Perfect love casts out fear!)
3 R’s. The thoughts you think, the images you hold in your head (dreams/daydreams), actions you take (behaviors, habits).
Other questions to ask yourself are, “What potential solution am I avoiding?” “What could I try that would require me to grow closer to God and/or other people?” “Where am I procrastinating?”

In my case, the big awakening has to do with my recent life changes. I’m often an early adaptor, but I like strategic, measured change. When things change and change again, or too many things change, or things change too radically I really suffer. Not always at a conscious level even. I’ve been really at odds with my environment.

I don’t want people to read into this as my new wife’s fault. I made that choice and I’m glad of it. I’m a lucky man. BUT let’s do some quick math. I’ve had two dozen jobs and almost that many addresses. You’d think I’d be accustomed to change. Nothing compares to this. I still lived in the same town, with a friend I’d known for a decade. I’d been single for over 4 decades. I had the same friends, some from even from grade school. Some aspects of my life we’re finally stabilizing

So beginning 2013, even though I was pretty devastated that my foray into “normalcy” a couple years earlier had been a disaster, I began working on myself again. I’d completed college, and I ditched my caveman look for something a little more professional. I started taking risks with my identity to see if I could get different results. I opened myself for personal, emotional risks. Well I got more than I bargained for.

It started out small enough. I’d packed on weight and I started working out, and exploring what I wanted to use for a diet. I got some new clothes, some of it a little different than my style. I got new shoes eventually, but I got the same kind I’d had before. I got a better cell phone, and once I had it just the way I wanted it broke and I had to do it again. It broke again and I got a third one of the same kind. This one has not broken but I noticed I didn’t bother to customize it the way I wanted.

My roommate moved out and ultimately I had to move too. I decided to get a 5th wheel and park it at Mom’s to save money so I could go on a book signing tour. Even though I’ve been moving a lot in life, each time I move I had more and more boxes that I just didn’t bother to unpack. This time I had a good excuse. There wasn’t any room.

My plans to finish several books I had half-done got delayed. Everything took longer to do than I thought it possibly could. I did get a new car, although it was a confusing process. I’m blessed to have that car, but it’s still something new to adjust to and I’d started getting to the end of my capacity for change.
Instead of a book tour, I started dating a girl I’d fallen in love with a couple years earlier, and that went well but it involved taking a huge emotional risk.

My GF came with a whole new set of adjustments. She asked me to shave and I eventually gave in. She hated the way I dressed and I began trying to wear clothes without stains, etc. even though I didn’t really care for how some of those clothes fit. I hate people who become someone else because they’re dating someone, so I hated myself for giving in to these requests, but I also realized that these were crazy things to take my identity from and surely they weren’t the end of the world.

I tried a pretty severe diet this last summer, which worked but I can’t sustain it, and I don’t really eat like I used to before. Some foods I eliminated make me ill now when I eat them. I also changed what type of freelancing I was doing as the bottom fell out of some of my regular accounts.

I proposed to my GF and we married earlier this month. She hates the smell of my aftershave, the taste of my toothpaste, and the smell of my shampoo and laundry soap. She shops at different stores than I do, she eats differently than I do. She’s got different taste in TV/movies. So I use her stuff. I moved into her place in Beaverton. I’m not a Beaverton kind of guy.

I love sleeping in. I’m used to getting up at 8am and working from 9am to 7pm. If I get on a role I like to keep writing into the night. My wife’s a morning person, and I’m a night owl. I started getting up at 5am with her, but then I’m exhausted. She’s home at 4:30 and wants to do stuff, so when I do sleep in my day is cut in half.

My wife really wants me to give up freelancing and take a steady job, which “I know I’ll hate,” based on previous attempts.

I don’t really get to see my friends unless I make special arrangements, because I have to travel to get to them. I have a pretty big commute to meet clients too, even though I cyber-commute a lot. Because I’m not well hooked up to the new community, getting new clients is hard, which backs-up my wife’s assertion that I just need a regular job. I find myself going to Vancouver every day just to feel a sense of normalcy. I also have a cat, which now has to live in my 5th wheel at Mom’s because we can’t have pets here. I miss my cat.

Moving twice in six months, and bringing less stuff with me to Beaverton than I had in my 5th wheel means most of my stuff is in boxes in my mom’s garage or down-sized. My wife’s duplex is tiny—I have to duck to get in and out of the shower and there’s only one bathroom. The bedroom is next to a busy road with cars and emergency vehicle’s constantly driving by, lighting up the window and the sound… Her bed isn’t comfortable and it rocks on wheels like I’m on a cruise ship or something.

She likes the “new me” clothes that I bought and she’s added to those. I have to leave anything I feel comfortable in back in the 5th wheel. Bottom line the guy who’s face I see in the mirror isn’t me, I don’t eat like me, I don’t smell like me, I don’t watch what I like on TV very often, nothing outside my door looks right and the people are frankly, really weird in Beaverton. I hardly sleep.

As I said, I love my wife. I chose most of this stuff, (or at least agreed to it in the case of the move). I’m very blessed and a lot of this is good stuff. I have the same email address and cell number and the same type of shoes and cell phone. It’s all really not the end of the world…so why does it feel like it is?

We’ll here’s today’s big revelation. I’ve known all that stuff I wrote above. Maybe in other language, but I knew it. I’ve been guilty of letting risk aversion make my decisions for me. I saw something I wanted and I through myself off a cliff to try and get it. I knew I couldn’t reach it and keep a foot back on the safe ground. I’m in tortured hell because I’ve been clinging by my finger nails to the shreds of what’s familiar and comfortable. I wanted change but I didn’t know I’d have to sacrifice everything.

Well, everything turns out to be the price. Jesus said the Kingdom of Heaven is like a pearl of great price. You have to give up everything to have it. You don’t get what you want without change. I didn’t mean to change everything but that’s not in my control. There’s no safe way ahead and I don’t want to go back. Emotionally I’m losing my grip, well that’s pretty normal for someone hanging from a cliff by the finger tips. I’m about to pay a price for getting something different that I didn’t know I could pay. I’m about to let go.
That’s my E (event or situation). The price wasn’t set by me. That’s not in my control. My R (response) is to either hang on, stuck in the middle and be miserable—eventually ruining my marriage and returning to the lonely existence of before. Or, I can let go and possibly lose everything I’ve ever known in the hopes that I’ll get what my heart has always longed for.

It’s more than trust in Kristin. I trust her. It’s the question of who I am if not who I’ve been. It’s a question of taking on the chore of asking God for even deeper understandings of who I am in this new situation. I need a new vision and I need the courage to let go and be something new. I have to trust God that the things about me worth keeping will still be there. I hope so but that’s not mine to decide. 

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