Worries on my mind

I seem to have a lot that is on my mind and stuff I’ve been dealing with for a while so I hope it’s okay that I share them. The first one is I’m going on a mission trip in about two weeks to San Francisco to help with a homeless organization. One of the reasons I’m going, besides to help a good cause, is because the leader said that most people come back from the trip with a new mindset and the trip changes them. I guess I want that change because that’s one of the reasons that caused me to sign up. Tonight, at a meeting for the trip, the leader warned us that what we are gonna do in San Francisco is very mentally exhausting. The first problem is that I don’t know if I can take any more mental exhaustion. I hate to sound selfish and I believe I am being selfish by worrying about myself when this trip is about other people. But I’m still worried that I won’t be able to take it. The second problem is that I feel like I won’t be of any help. I’m not in the best place spiritually or the place I wish I was spiritually and what we’ll be doing 99% of the time on the trip is praying over the homeless and sharing God’s Word. How can I do that when I don’t know where I am with God? I feel like I’m wasting everyone’s time. I feel like I shouldn’t be going on this trip. I can’t back out of this trip and I don’t wanna back out, but I definitely feel like I’m doing no good going on this mission.
The second thing that I’m dealing with is these flashbacks I have been dealing with for a while. I can’t figure out what triggers them and it seems that they happen no matter what I’m doing. They totally ruin my day since most of them are having to do with people in my life and people I used to know that I’m trying my best to forget about and to not be around as much. Memories I have with them are not good ones and they completely ruin me. I honestly don’t know how to stop them and I feel like they’ll stick with me forever. Some of them are with friends and my mom. Relationships I had with people that no longer exist will float into my mind and I’ll sink into a depression that just completely ruins all of the hard work I’ve done to try to get past those people and those memories. I just feel like no matter how much I try to move on, those flashbacks and memories will still happen and I’ll still end up back at square one, feeling desperate and lost.

Hey Nicole, thanks for sharing friend. I know it’s a hard thing to talk about.
As a person who’s been on two mission trips and also a person who too struggles with self-worth in terms of leadership roles, I completely know what you’re going through. What’s interesting about mission trips is your mind is essentially wiped clean of insecurities and other negative thoughts as the literal only reason you are there is to help people; so that usually is all you think about. What’s interesting about God is he especially likes to use people who feel like they aren’t good enough to help the broken, because it’s not you who is helping them; it’s God who is helping them through you. I would encourage you to just ask him to take control and let him use you as a vessel to help people. I know from experience that you have an extraordinary love for people and I think you’ll do a fantastic job on your trip.
Flashbacks and not letting go of the past is hard. It’s really easy to look back on past relationships and friendships and just think “Man, I wish I could still be able to talk to that person the same way we used to.” What’s good about old relationships fading is that it makes room for new ones, with people you get to choose. It doesn’t make letting go any easier, but it helps to be able to focus on new experiences with new people instead of always missing the old people and experiences.
You’re very loved here and I know you’ll grow past this.

Hang in there friend,

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Hi Nicole!

Having those trip can definitely change your perceptions of the world. I think it is really cool of you to sign up to go for that reason. A lot of people don’t like to step out of what they know and you are choosing to experience something new and maybe have a new opinion or view of things. Those few days in SF might be awkward, or challenging, or draining, but my dear I really think you should go. I actually went to Jamaica a few years ago and helped at a homeless shelter for my spring break. It was emotionally exhausting because I listened to people’s stories and I felt so horrible for the things they had to go through. But honestly I am so happy I met those people. Those conversations and discussions touched my heart and I just wanted to get to know them. You don’t have to be the “perfect” volunteer. The people who you help don’t care at all about that. They just want someone to talk to or spend time with or to help. You just being there will mean so much. Even in your brokenness God can use you to bring love and light into this world. And also, I truly believe that when God wants to use you for something good, the devil will make us believe lies and make our depression worse so that we will doubt ourselves. The devil really doesn’t want you to go on that trip, God must have something planned for you. Maybe not, but that’s just my experience.

As for your flashbacks, I’m so sorry that’s been happening. I don’t think the hurt from losing someone from your life ever goes away. There is a hole in your heart and you’re still healing from those wounds. But over time, those wounds will heal and you will find new friends and people who will help you heal those wounds in your heart. You are not broken or damaged. You are healing. Hold fast. We believe in you

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Hey there Nicole!

Thank you for sharing with us, that shows a lot of courage and vulnerability. I can tell that you are an incredibly feeling person and that your spiritual life with Christ is important to you, thats great!

As far as going on the mission trip is concerned, that is up to you. However, I do want to share with you something God has shared with me after a lot of long, lonely, insecure nights. Who was it that Jesus chose to be His disciples?
Was it priests? Public servants? Stand up members of the community? powerful people?
Not at all.
He chose salty fisherman, a corrupt banker, and general nobodies of society. And who did Jesus hang out with during his time on earth? Prostitutes, drug dealers, corrupt politicians, and sinners.
What i’m trying to say is that God does not call the equipped, He equips the called.

If you feel led to go on this trip and you do so in faith, I promise that God will give you strength and the energy to do the work He has for you.

If you decide not to go, don’t be ashamed of that! Perhaps your doubts are the Holy Spirit prompting you not to go. Like i said, its not my place to decide this. Pray to God and ask Him for wisdom. God doesn’t expect you to pray like a pastor or a super “spiritual” person. He just wants you to talk to Him like a dad, which He is. Just talk to Him and be honest. He’ll answer, I promise.

Hold Fast!

Sam S.