Christian Living · encouragement · Trust

It’s time to break camp!


A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.

~ Proverbs 16.9, NKJV

When I was young, I had very definite ideas about what I wanted to achieve in life. I wanted to have enough money to live in a nice big house in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. I wanted a college degree, a good career and a good church to worship with. I wanted to be married, have children. I wanted to have it all.

There’s a funny truth about our crazy dreams: while many are attainable, they are not necessarily attainable together. I couldn’t have everything without sacrificing something.

By the time I was 16, I knew I wanted to go to college, but didn’t have a clue where to go. I wanted to go somewhere prestigious like Harvard, Yale, Princeton or Stanford—I certainly had the grades and the test scores to stand a chance. But when the rubber hit the road and I had to start shelling out hundreds of dollars per application, those California state schools looked far more attractive. I settled on a school in San Luis Obispo, over 300 miles from home, and at the age of 17, embarked on dream #1: college. While crashing classes, eating lousy dorm food, drinking too much coffee, pulling all-nighters and forming lifelong friendships, my dreams transformed once more. I wanted a home and career in that beautiful place. I wanted to revel in the beauty of that coastal town for the rest of my life. The church there had become my family and I was thoroughly happy.

Unfortunately, careers and affordable rents are difficult to come by with such an expansive concentration of interns and talent. While I was working my first post-college job, I met my spouse and moved to Sacramento, embarking on another unplanned journey.

I broke camp and moved to the next place.

Such has been my routine for the past seventeen years.

Make plans. Dream dreams. Get settled. Things change. Break camp. Move along down the road.

The dreams keep changing shape. I make plans—good plans—but the Lord leads me in other unplanned directions.

So, is it foolish to make plans and dream dreams?


Here’s some things to keep in mind about plans and dreams:

  1. Entrust them to the Lord
    As the above verse states: A man’s heart plans his way [these are dreams/goals/plans] but the Lord directs His steps. Pray about your goals and dreams. Ask God to shape them and make the right ones come to fruition. I have learned that God’s plans are always more beneficial than my own. I’m learning to put every request before Him with the Words, “not my will but yours be done, because you know best.”
  2. It is far better to make plans and work at them, then to have no plan at all.
    For example, I have a savings plan laid out every year. Sometimes there are surprise expenses and I have to adjust the plan. Even if I come out a few dollars short, I’m farther ahead than I would have been if I’d just arbitrarily thrown money into savings. Make plans. They truly help!
  3. Be thankful for the dreams that have been fulfilled
    In the face of unfulfilled dreams, we tend to mourn their loss and disregard any present blessings. First of all, if you have been washed in the blood of Christ, you are in Christ. What better “dream” could their be than salvation?? In more physical terms, what dreams are still in your possession? I assume at least one has still come to fruition. Give thanks in all circumstances. God provides for you every single day.
  4. If our greatest dream is the Lord, the devastation of our earthly dreams won’t be as catastrophic.
    Many of my earthly dreams have not just been derailed, they’ve been violently shattered. It’s painful to see things go up in smoke as it were. Consider the early Christians. They lost their homes, families, livelihoods, and more—all for the sake of Christ. Did they sit in the ashes and weep? No! They rejoiced! They had come to realize that there was something far better than this life. They had Christ, and He was their greatest treasure. They are our cloud of witnesses who possessed joy indescribable. We ought to desire, as they did, a heavenly country.
  5. It’s all temporary.
    There’s a reason I keep saying, “Break camp.” We are only here for a short while. This world is a wilderness camp ground and the promise land comes afterwards. Let go of that sense of “possession” and remember that it all belongs to the Lord.

Today I sit in our freshly painted house, surrounded by the chaos of moving boxes, paperwork, misplaced furniture, and all those trappings of relocation. I’ve been sorting through old books, papers, and trinkets, and trying to say goodbye to people, places and things that I’ve grown to love. Yes, even in this wilderness place, there are attachments that are painful to part with.

I never dreamed that I’d spend my adult life relocating multiple times. And yet, I can’t deny that God has lead me to each new location. Sometimes I’ve run joyously toward my new destination, but mostly, I go with sadness and painful goodbyes.

If your wait is over and the call has come to break camp, remember that if the Lord wills you to go, He will direct your steps. He will guard you and protect you.

Commit your work to the Lord and your plans will be established.

~ Proverbs 16.3, ESV


13 thoughts on “It’s time to break camp!

  1. Breaking Camp has been my lot as well. This has happened even though I have lived in the same town in the same house, but God keeps me moving all the same. I get attached to one place–ministry, activity people–and I get the word to pull up stakes, it’s time for a change. I have joked with my girls that I’m on the five year plan. It’s not far from the truth. Every three to five years, I receive the bittersweet revelation, I sign at the parting, then follow direction and set out for the new encampment. New vistas to see. New paths to explore. Always an adventure. Thanks for writing. I enjoy your posts very much.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Wow! That is hard! It sounds like you’ve learned how to accept change with the peace of God. Keep on keepin’ on, my friend and thank you for your encouraging comments. 😀

      Liked by 2 people

    1. I love that phrase “trust fall.” It really is! When Peter stepped out onto the stormy water, he totally took a trust fall, but panicked at the last minute. Thanks for your excellent comment, Susan!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I love all of your points, however, the last two resonate with me the most. I’m striving to make the Lord my greatest dream while remembering, it’s all temporary. This isn’t alway easy, depending on the circumstances. But I think I’m learning (finally!) that God really does have my best in mind!
    Thanks for another great post 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Becky! Those last two really are recent “learns” for me. It’s something that I may have heard or known before, but now I am gaining real understanding. A lot of stress seems to dissipate when we realize what you said—“God really does have our best in mind.” I appreciate your encouragement. May the Lord be with you.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hello Elihu! I’m stopping by some neighbors and seeing what is new in your world. Love your post! So blessed to read your insight on plans, hopes and dreams. I spent far too much time in my early years making my “own” plans. Thanks to a merciful God, He worked it all out for my good:) Yes, now I ask Him daily to order my steps according to His will:) He’s gentle with me every time:) blessing friend:)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Denise! I love the way God graciously irons things out sometimes. He looks at us like a growing child and understands that we don’t always grasp the full ramifications of our chosen paths. He abounds in steadfast love. May the Lord continue to direct you.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Sometimes breaking camp means a day by day realization that your camp is a temporary location in your spiritual journey, and the moving on is the next task HE has planned for you. I have literally walked through the “valley of the shadow of death” on multiple occasions in my personal life. I work with people daily to walk through that valley at the end of their life. Elihu knows the truth of my assertion about those facts. If you trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not upon your own understanding, and if you follow the the admonition to “in nothing be anxious”, but trust in HIM who is able to be your sure guide even in the darkest of circumstances, then you can have that inner joy and peace that passes all understanding, in every situation that HE presents you with, because HE is your tour guide, route planner, and someday your welcoming committee home. Happy trails Elihu!


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