I knew I had to face my recurring frustration.
So instead, I turned to Paul.
“You’re the widely read author of multiple inspirational essays, published as ebooks and print books,” I said. “How did you settle down to write?”
Paul smiled. “Getting locked up in prison is often a way to eliminate distractions. Particularly when you get past the frustrations and learn to be content.”
I just shook my head.
“I’m serious,” I said. “Remember last week when I was thinking about these conversations and laid out a plan? I was going to make a list of questions for you every day. And I was going to read through the letter every day. And I was going to write a dozen conversations.”
“And then you had a couple long days and you lost the thread,” Paul said. “What happened? What took you away from your plan?”
“I was helping Nancy and some friends with a wedding. And then I was working. And then I was at another conference with some friends.”
“What makes you think that there was a problem, that you were distracted? Because it seems to me that you were doing exactly what was important to do.”
“But my writing? My plans?”
“May I remind you about my focus? You’ve talked about it before. It is Christ. Knowing Christ.”
“You say ‘is’, not was,” I said.
“Because that’s still my one thing,” he said.
Before I could respond, he went on. “But if my one thing, if your one thing, is knowing Christ, that is going to show up in a lot of ways. It will be evident in these conversations, but it will be evident in helping accomplish a meal at a wedding. That’s doing work that Jesus did. And it will be telling someone what I wrote about peace that makes no sense. And it will be offering words of affirmation and prayer to another friend in the middle of trial.
“All of those may not be on your to-do list, but they were clearly on God’s to-do list for you. That was how my life worked.”