Confession: I Wanted to Leave YWAM

a blog by Maddy Mudd about surrender, written upon the start of our spring DTS


I had just arrived at YWAM Yosemite at the beginning of the fall Discipleship Training School. All the other students were getting to know each other with excitement and anticipation. I, on the other hand, was sitting in an office with my school leaders, explaining why I wanted to leave. “I just don’t think YWAM is the right place for me right now,” I was telling them.

I was going through one of the most intense seasons of doubt in my faith, during which I even started to question Jesus’ divinity and whether missions was ethical.

I was going through one of the most intense seasons of doubt in my faith, during which I even started to question Jesus’ divinity and whether missions was ethical. The night before my trip from the east coast, I almost chose not to come, but all I knew was that I was supposed to get on that airplane to California.

“Just stay for orientation to see what DTS is all about,” Colton, my school leader, suggested, and I agreed.

One of the first few nights, we watched Loren Cunningham’s Let’s Go Barefoot sermon about dying to your rights. After the film, which I gritted my teeth through, we had a time of surrender as we lay down our rights. Almost immediately, God brought me to Proverbs 3: 5-8:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.”

But, still, I heard God whisper, Surrender your own understanding.

Oh, how I had become wise in my own eyes, as I refused to acknowledge Him, grasping at some unique understanding of God that was outside the “limits” of Christianity. With all the flaws in the Church over the course of time, how could Christianity be the one and only truth? I had been wondering. But, still, I heard God whisper, Surrender your own understanding. As my classmates wrote the object of surrender on small stones and lay them at the foot of the cross, I sat there arguing with God, telling him “no,” over and over again.

Finally, I grabbed Rachel, a DTS staff member who would become my one-on-one and one of my closest friends. The battle within me had become too much to take. I finally explained the depths of my doubt and my desire to surrender my understanding. I told her how much I missed God, how distant from me He felt, and how I had been seeking Him over the past few months in all the wrong places, when deep-down I knew right where to find Him.

Although it took me two more days to surrender my understanding, that night we prayed that God would give me the strength to do so, and I committed to stay at YWAM because, although I didn’t know anything else, I knew God was asking me to stay.

It’s amazing how, when we lay something down at Jesus' feet — like our understanding, our desires, our dreams — we always find abundance rather than void. For me, in laying down my own understanding, I was given pieces of the Lord’s wisdom that far transcended any knowledge I could have come to by my own reason. As Paul wrote,

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.
— Romans 12: 2 - 3
The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned… ‘For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?’ But we have the mind of Christ
— 1 Corinthians 2: 14 - 16

Thus, at the start of my DTS, I surrendered my understanding and found wisdom in Christ — the One who is Truth — one hundredfold. But, by the end of my DTS, I had surrendered my family, my career, my security, and my life at His feet, too. Each act of surrender became easier and easier as I drew closer to the One I was surrendering to. Further, since that initial act of surrender, God has even spoken purpose, direction, and vision into my life, far beyond anything I could have imagined.

I encourage you, fellow disciple of Jesus, to live in a posture of surrender. Here are a couple things about surrender that I’ve picked up so far, that I want to offer you for your journey:

  1. Always recognize that His understanding is greater than your own.

  2. God wants to hold you in the places that you think are holding you. (For example, if you think your security is found in finances, He probably wants you to surrender in this area so He can show you who your true Provider is.)

  3. Surrender requires understanding the character of the one you’re surrendering to. Get to know His heart. Do you believe Him worthy of it all?

  4. Surrender requires His strength. It’s not natural to our flesh. He loves our desire to surrender and will provide the strength necessary, so ask Him for it!

  5. Be vulnerable in a community that will encourage you into deeper surrender to Jesus.

  6. Believe that God has so much more for you than you could ever have for yourself.


I pray that you, brothers and sisters, live a life of surrender to the One who is worthy of everything, even those things we try so hard to hold onto. May you seek wisdom and understanding from God as you discover the adventure of following Him, with radical abandon. May your surrender show you what it means to love God with your whole being — your heart, your mind, and your strength. May God open your eyes to behold Him.


Maddy Mudd did her DTS here at YWAM Yosemite this past fall. When she's not in the missions field, she works here on campus in Communications and Community Development. Her dream is to see communities and nations transformed by the power of the Gospel. She loves rock climbing, writing, and breakfast. You can follow her personal blog here!


Do you feel God calling you to lay down your life for Him? Maybe the first step is doing your DTS.

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