Friday, 18 December 2015

'Thank God for' Friday

It's been quite some time since my last one of these. If you're not familiar with the concept, then basically every now and again I take a moment to reclaim the phrase and actually reflect on something I want to thank God for, and blog about it.

This week, I thank God for...

New Friends.

You may or may not know, but I am a busy person. Intentially so. I like having a packed out diary; cramming as much as possible into every week and having lots of regular commitments to fill up my time. I also really love spending quality time with people, but this is not always compatible with being super busy, and in the past I have ended up squeezing quality time with friends into breakfast dates, quick half hours between other engagements or late night catch ups - which is my worst part of the day for brain functioning!

But this year, I have actually gained quite a lot of spare time as regular commitments have dropped. I decided I couldn't commit fully to choir anymore so I stopped that, and dancing also went down from two nights a week, to just one. Together with a couple of other minor schedule changes, I suddenly realised I had several free evenings each week, which is something that I don't think I remember having since I was about 6 years old! This is a very strange sensation for me and it has taken some getting used to. Don't get me wrong I haven't just been sitting doing nothing at all every evening, but when talking to other busy people about everything they had going on, I found myself feeling either guilty or jealous. I didn't exactly articulate this out loud, or even fully understand what I was jealous or guilty for. Maybe I was jealous of their beautiful and complete diary with so many appointments to prove that they are capable of handling a lot and that lots of people wanted them or their time. Yet at the same maybe I felt guilty that while they were getting exhausted and burnt out from all of the ties on their time, I was able to enjoy my time and be flexible with it.

Perhaps I should take up a new hobby or challenge to make me busy again, I thought...

Then I realised something, I have actually developed a new hobby. It's called making friends! I think most of us probably grow out of this hobby fairly early on in our lives. Maybe our own inhibitions or time constraints hold us back, but now that I was a bit more flexible I was able to invest that time into new people. That first part of a friendship can always be a bit awkward, getting past the small talk and introductions, but if you have the time to give a bit more the rewards are immense. It turns out, I love making new friends; I love when you get past the point of trying to be normal and release some inner weirdness, I love when you begin to build up trust and one or other of you shares something that really matters, I love discovering shared interests, I love when the hours have ticked by without you noticing and you realise that spending time together is so easy and natural, I love when you first find out what makes a person tick and what makes them amazing.

I find all of this incredibly exciting! And I am so thankful to be in a position where I can say that even in the past couple of months, I have made several new friends who I can already tell are going to be great friends. In this past week, I have had the joy of spending Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evening with different new friends. Each of them is different but incredible, and they are all inspiring and teaching me about God in unique and wonderful ways. So it turns out that making and maintaining friendships is and is going to remain my most important and fulfilling hobby, and this Friday I truly thank God for that.

Thanks God, for new friends.