Bumpy Ride

Thursday, June 24, 2021

A few years ago, I had a dream that Zeke and I were on a bus ride. The bus was kind of an old school bus. We were sitting upfront. The ride was extremely bumpy. So ferocious were the bumps, we thought we were going to get out of our seats and be thrown to the front window. The bus stops. I hear a phrase I never forget. It speaks about a new start. 

I thought about this dream because that’s what my life feels like. It’s been a bumpy ride. Adapting to a new place is not easy. Throw a pandemic in the middle and you got yourself a challenge to overcome. 

I have written extensively about adapting to a new hometown. This time around, I’ve had the following choices ahead of me:

Complain or Cry - It is no secret I’ve done a lot of complaining, therefore, God led me to go into a 40-day no complaining challenge. What I gained in the journey has been life-transforming. While God doesn’t have a problem with complaints, He does not endorse the lack of gratitude. Gratitude enriches life and it is God’s best for us. I’ve done my fair share of complaining. I’m ready to move to gratitude from the side out. 

I cried a lot when I first moved to East Texas. I cried for many reasons but mostly grief and sadness. Crying can be cleansing. Crying is a way to express what’s happening inside. In my own way of processing change, crying was a way to protest the uneasiness of change. Crying was my way of expressing frustration. I tried to stop those tears. I learned that as long as I cry my tears and move on to higher heights, I should be good.  

Adopt or Adapt - When you move to a new place, you are faced with the choice to adopt the way of life or adapt to the way of life. I’m choosing the later. Adopting means welcoming the culture as your own. Living as you see it. Behaving as you sense it. I am choosing not to do that because I am convicted to be different from what I’ve encountered. As I encounter racism, I am convicted to be fiercely myself. As I encounter rejection time and time again, I am convicted to be accepted in the Beloved. As I encounter reciprocity in friendships, I am convicted to welcome these friends as my own. Adapting to the culture means being fully myself while living in a well-established culture. I am learning that people have the right to be themselves as I enjoy the same right. I am learning that I have the responsibility to be the Cintia God created me to be everywhere I go.

Rise stronger or Remain unchanged - Adapting to any new town is a rough ride. The challenges of 2020 and my personal journey have given me two unmistakable, hard to ignore choices. I can rise stronger or remain unchanged. I can’t choose to remain unchanged because hurt, pain, rejection and other things I am taking to my grave affected my journey. They changed me deeply. The reason is, I submitted all of these things to the Lord Jesus so He could (with the help of my sweet Zeke, my Christian counselor and many runs) transform my mind. Honestly, I was in need of change before I landed here. These hardships, whether related to a hometown change or not, forced me to choose to rise stronger. It seems that transition and the adaptation challenges helped my character flaws to surface. When they did, I saw a clear choice: change. 

Change is hard business. It can be frustrating, exhausting yet completely worthy of investment. 

I’m not sure if you feel like you are in a crossroads or not. I’m not sure if life feels like a rough ride. When the bus stops, we can complain or cry. We can adopt or adapt. We can also remain unchanged or rise stronger. I hope you feel your feelings. I hope you choose well. I hope you find help in this life’s journey. Above all, I hope you find that God who created you wants the very best for you, even though the ride might be a wild one.