I was a few weeks into my Discipleship Training School, and while I had already received so much breakthrough and healing, I was still feeling very lonely and was finding it difficult to make friends. I was loving everything about DTS and was extremely happy to be there, but I couldn’t escape the idea that people don’t like me. I knew the staff there cared about me, but I didn’t believe my fellow classmates did. Throughout my teen years making friends had always been something that was really hard for me, so coming into my DTS I thought I was okay with the idea of not making any lastings friendships. But as the weeks stretched on, I had a deep desire to connect with me peers and to know them. All of this came to a head one week when the whole school attended a conference at another YWAM campus.

We spent the whole week camping in big tents together on the YWAM campus. The campus was huge and filled with forests, and going from the main conference building to our tents was a long walk. Taking that walk by yourself without knowing the area, especially at night, was not the smartest thing to do. But I, choosing to be independent, decided to figure out the path on my own. This was not a great idea as I got lost quite a few times. But to me that was better than having to open myself up to people by asking for help and risk rejection. While I thought I was happy being on my own, as the week progressed that idea began to crack until it broke completely.

There was a coffee depot on the YWAM campus where everyone would hang out in between sessions. One night before we went back to our tents I watched as all of my fellow DTS students were together playing different games and I felt so very left out. Though I was trying to make friends, I felt that all of my efforts were falling flat. I decided to talk to one of my school leaders about this since I didn’t know what to do anymore. I’m really glad I decided to start opening up and shared with my school leader as I ended up learning something very valuable.

I started sharing with my school leader the ways the other students had been leaving me out and how they had hurt me. The response he gave me was not what I expected. He looked at me clearly and asked, “Did you ever think maybe they’re not leaving you out but you’re keeping them out?” I think that question might have hurt more than the feeling of not having friends. As I thought about it, I realized how right he was. I so badly wanted to be friends with my fellow students, but at the same time I was so scared to let people in for fear of getting hurt like I have in the past. Because of this fear I wasn’t allowing people to get close to me. And if I kept doing that, then eventually people were going to stop trying to be my friend. I kept thinking that no one liked me or wanted to be my friend when I was actually the one acting as though I didn’t like anyone there. I wasn’t being rejected by people, I was sending a message to those around me that they were rejected by me.

Through this conversation I was able to better understand that in order to have relationships with other people, we have to think about that person first. Living in community and doing life with people means you have to look beyond yourself. Loving people requires us to think of how we can best love and serve others. I was having a hard time connecting with people because I was thinking more of how I could be seen and loved instead of thinking about how I could love and serve them. I had been living in self preservation mode, when doing so was robbing me of the joy of fellowship.

DTS gave me a deeper understanding of what it really means to love people. Though it was extremely scary to put myself out there, choosing to be vulnerable was one of the best decisions I ever made. And I was very surprised at the things I learned by opening up and stepping into community. I learned more about myself and was encouraged to accept who I am in Christ. I was able to grow in compassion and patience towards people. I was able to see more of who God is through the way the people around me showcased His character. And I gained so many beautiful relationships I still have now. I will be forever thankful for all of the many valuable lessons I learned during my Discipleship Training School!


Written by Katie Floyd