Are you feeling a bit off-center since returning from your short-term mission trip? If you are, you aren’t alone. The “post short-term mission blues” are not an uncommon feeling. Sure, the first few weeks after coming home were fun. You got to tell all your stories, share photos, and live off the spiritual adrenaline of the trip.
Now, however, life has gotten real. Bills need to be paid, work or school is still there, a strained relationship hasn’t gotten any better, and many of your friends are no closer to Jesus than when you left. What’s worse is that you are probably starting to feel like things haven’t gone the way you expected after coming home.
There are four common reasons for feeling down after a short-term mission trip. Read the list and see if any describe you:
1. Missing the team. This includes both your team from your home country as well as the national believers with whom you ministered
2. Longing for the same spiritual depth and meaning in life. This is often felt as a discontentment with your current life
3. Liking the culture you visited more than your own. Or at least feeling at odds with your culture or even your own church.
4. Returning to difficult situations at home. This could be a situation at home, at work, in school, and so on
So what do we do with these feelings? How do we overcome them? Here are some ideas of how you can deal with the blues for each category.
Missing the team?
1. Find a way to communicate with team member. But focus your communication on the future and not on reliving the past.
2. Don’t shut out your old friends. They may not understand your experience but they can still listen.
3. Start planning for future ministry of some kind
Looking for spiritual depth and meaning?
1. Don’t stop pursuing God with the same spiritual disciplines you did before and during the trip.
2. Understand that you have a mission field at home too!
3. Get involved with a ministry in your church or community
Do you like their culture better than ours?
1. Remember you’re either part of the problem or part of the solution. Be part of the solution.
2. Find ways to integrate cultural values from the other culture into your own daily life.
3. Find the cultural group in your city and get involved with them.
Returning to difficult situations at home?
1. Depend on God for the solution just as you depended on Him during the trip.
2. Look for God-honoring solutions
3. Don’t get lost in the temporal—remember God’s eternal Kingdom.
What has caused your short-term missions blues? How did you “cure” them? Share with us so we can benefit from your story!