Jen and I have started our Journey to Ozark Lakes Summer Mission! As we packed, loaded up the car and headed out, the butterflies in my stomach picked up momentum and are now circling around at light-speed. Situations like these in life that make me very anxious. As an introvert, I can’t help but internalize all of the unknown. Are we going to have fun? Am I going to connect to people? What will people think of me? My natural response is to wade into these situations until the water is warm. Jen is not that way. She is a genuine extrovert. She sees these situations as a challenge and dives in, trying to invest in every single person.
In addition, there is another cause for anxiety. We want to have a summer where we connect to God and take a step of faith that is going to have a lasting spiritual impact in our life. We would love to have an exciting summer that fuels our passion for reaching the lost in the coming year. In a place that is so familiar to us, we find ourselves wondering if will we be able to take a step of faith that will have a lasting impact?
Our family began in the Ozarks. We met, got married and spent the first 6 months in Branson, MO. We then moved to Fayetteville, Arkansas. Fayetteville is in the Northwest Corner of Arkansas, but in the southwest corner of the region called the Ozarks. We lived here for almost 5 years and moved less than a year ago. We laid the foundation for marriage, got great work experience and started our family here. The region is home.
“The reality is, we need this shift in focus.”
Having lived here for a few years, we have a number of close friends and family that we are going to visit on the way to Ozark Lakes. Pulling out of the last stop light in Siloam Springs, we begin our entrance into the region. Red dirt is replaced with rock. Prairie with hardwoods. Row crops with chicken houses.
The shift of perspective that being in a different region brings immediately begins to change our current perspective. The reality is, we need this shift in focus.
We need to stop focusing on what we get out of this summer and be present in the richness of the area. Its natural beauty, deep history, and great people are what makes it a special place. We need a reminder that we are not entitled to a summer of only exciting, comfortable, and enjoyable things. We are reminded that most influential people from the Scripture went through significant seasons of life that weren’t glamorous initially. We are not entitled to it either.
As we stop and think about this summer, we get to connect to God, and we get to do it in a way that is chock-full of great people, nights of games and cards, as well as world-class fishing, canoeing, caving and hiking.
When we look back, I think we are going to be thankful for how God used the familiar to teach us more about him. We are excited about the journey. Until then, we are going to attempt to refocus when anxiety or entitlement creeps in. As you make your way to Ozark Lakes, we would encourage you to do the same thing.
“…we are going to attempt to refocus when anxiety or entitlement creeps in.”
In the coming days, we are going to share some of the great things from the Ozarks that are in Northwest Arkansas.
Hopefully, this will help you begin the process of shifting your focus on the beauty of the region. We hope you enjoy hearing about the sights, restaurants and people from the area.