Things that Could Have Been Versus the Things that Are

I’ve been marinating on this phrase quite a lot recently. This has been a season of extreme life change – to say the least.

I’ve left two jobs, moved away from my home town, left my family, exited my deep and wide community, and transitioned to a new life, new rhythm, new routine in Seattle. Nothing about this is bad, but if someone would have told me last October this is how God was going to move and lead, I probably would have laughed it off and told that person they were crazy.

Crazy thing is, that is exactly what God was up to.

As I’ve been thinking about what could have been, I’ve been reflecting how my formative church years were spent at a young church, then helping launch a church. Then, I went on staff (my first job as a pastor) at a historic church in Santa Ana – which predated the city. Now, in Seattle, the church God called me to join the team at just turned 100 years old.

It is the same age as Boeing; it is one of only 26 business left from 1916 in Seattle.

Bethany Community Church is a church that 100 years ago, looked drastically different. As it has aged, the community of Bethany has consistently and faithfully followed how God has been at work in Seattle and lived into who God has asked this community to be.

I’m curious if the founding team of Bethany stopped to think about what their community would like in the new millennium? Could they have envisioned what was to come in Seattle, the country, or their church?

I get the sense that this community of people has not been stuck throughout it’s history thinking about what could have been in the answer to those questions. Instead, they were dreaming into the reality of what actually was, not what could have been. Not getting stuck in the past, or the ways they really, really wanted a certain season of life to go.

Now, I sit in this tension. I’ve been moving so fast the past three months I have not really had the chance to slow down, pause, reflect and wrestle with the tension of what could have been. To preface, I’m grateful and excited for this new season. It is where I’m supposed to be. Yet, I think I have missed out on lament, on the ending of one stage of life.

My life, my calling, my vision, my vocation, was formed, created, and developed inside Orange County, California. God did so, so many good things in this season, in that stage of life, in that geographic region of the world. No matter where I go from here on out, Orange County goes with me.

Adding to this, I now get to say, no matter where I go in the rest of life – Seattle will go with me as well. As I enter into a new season of dreaming about the things that could be, Seattle will be a formative, birthing ground for these new dreams.

Things that are versus things that could have been. The tension is real but the dreams of what could be are birthed out of the things that are. I can’t wait to see those new dreams in this new season.

May it be in Seattle as it is in heaven.


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