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When a group of racers returns from their year abroad, we invite them to Georgia and put on a week of seminar talks, parties, and coaching sessions that we call Project Searchlight. It’s a lot of fun and gets high marks. My part is to be around and to be interruptible. I’d rather show up with my…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

When a group of racers returns from their year abroad, we invite them to Georgia and put on a week of seminar talks, parties, and coaching sessions that we call Project Searchlight. It’s a lot of fun and gets high marks. My part is to be around and to be interruptible.

I’d rather show up with my prepared talks and Powerpoint slides, but lately it hasn’t gone that way. Instead, God has side-swiped me and asked me to share something else. I either set aside my agenda, or I risk missing his. Afterwards, if someone wants to interrupt my schedule and ask for help, I make myself available.

This week I sensed God asking me to share about how we need to prioritize our need for community. I made the point that when Jesus left his disciples, they didn’t disperse. They stayed together and prayed. In the hotbed of community, revolution was born.  In the atmosphere of prayer, the fires of kingdom passion were stoked.  Returning racers need to look to one another to stoke the fires within them.

I think it was what they needed to hear, but it’s not what I came prepared to say.

The idea of interruptibility doesn’t fit well with the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. It’s not “beginning with the end in mind” or “putting first things first.” It’s not efficient and isn’t taught in business school.

On the other hand, when you’re interruptible, you are accessible and you’re human. People know that you care. They feel like they’re important. Whatever your age, whether someone like me, almost a granddad, or a child tugging on her mommy’s skirts, we all need to know that we’re important enough for people to pay attention to us.

Our staff know they can drop by my office and I’ll try to set aside what I’m doing and give them the time they need. Yes, there’s a downside to being interruptible. Lincoln made room to meet with the common man and it exhausted him. Moses had the same problem. They both learned that they needed to draw the line somewhere.

But when it comes to following God, interruptibility is essential. If he can’t get our attention and if he can’t trust us to listen to or obey his voice, what point is there in speaking to us?

As a leader, my moral authority doesn’t only come from my integrity, it comes from my intimacy with the Father. Those that follow me want to know that I’ll follow hard after him and that if he speaks to me, I’ll pay attention and prioritize what he says over my own agenda. That’s the essence of interruptibility.

What does your interruptibility say about the kind of friend you are? What does it say about the kind of disciple you are or the kind of leader you are?

Comments (8)

  • i love this. i think about this a lot. when we schedule our days to the brim, it’s hard for God to squeeze a word in edgewise…

  • Great word! Timely!! This fits exactly what has been going on in my little life (As Heidi Baker – Iris Ministries- so beautifully puts it)that my life is not my own. Also that now that my summer vacation is done and I’m starting back to my school job with the district, my time is not my own. It wasn’t before either but much more flexible. As I laid here sleepless and praying I thought about how much more blessed it is to give than to receive. And that when I am spontaneous the Spirit can move so freely. Yes we need to schedule and prioritize, as I am learning too. But Jesus comes first and He does not come in a box or neatly wrapped with a ribbon. 🙂

  • This is my life in a nutshell. God is a relational Father, Jesus is a relational Savior, and we should be a relational people.

    I’m trying to live more like your quote from above:
    ” As a leader, my moral authority doesn’t only come from my integrity, it comes from my intimacy with the Father. Those that follow me want to know that I’ll follow hard after him and that if he speaks to me, I’ll pay attention and prioritize what he says over my own agenda. ”

  • It is true that this is an important quality and I appreciate your interruptability. I still remember during my Project Searchlight when I was freaking out about not getting all the organizational things and you calmly said, “If the tool doesn’t work for you then find a different tool.” I’ve used that several times over since then.

    I think like with most things it is a matter of balance and wisdom, knowing when to be interruptible and when it is wise to have the space that isn’t. Even Moses took the advice of Jethro and put boundaries in place for his protection and for the good of others.

  • Thanks for the insights here Seth. God doesn’t view “time” the same way we do. Therein is some of the rub.

  • As believers and followers we acknowledge that we are spiritual beings in a spiritual world. Therefore, we know “the end in mind” – we know the end and that interruptibility is focused around relationship and relationship is why we are here.

    Thanks for always being interruptible and relationship focused.

  • I guess interruptiblity and flexibility are one in the same, huh? Or atleast cousins. Yes, He’s been encouraging me also to lay it all down at a moment’s notice, even the picture in our mind. Today I went to a nursing home to see if I could volunteer, with the hope of being able to just chat with a few people one on one. I sat in the lobby waiting for the person in charge to see me. I read the paper and a devotional book they had there, and then I started noticing those around me. I said a few words to the janitor, and 3 of the residents. After awhile, I went up to the receptionist and asked her if maybe the one I was waiting for had forgotten me. She called her on the phone, hung up, and told me the lady in charge was too busy to see me to leave my name and phone number and she would call me later. When I was leaving the building, I realized I had accomplished what I had come for-God’s way, not mine. The picture I had in my mind was a nice neat package; His was a casual “happenstance.” I was blessed;I hope those I chatted were too. I know they were because it was God’s plan.

  • This is soooo good, Seth. God was just speaking to me about interruptability, how drawing closer to His heart for the world requires it, along with the balance to be purposed in vision. We can’t plan out what that looks like, but if we look to Him, He will always show us when.

    I want to thank you for the interruptability you have always had with me, and that the staff of AIM has always had. It was one of the biggest factors in changing my life waaay back at Training Camp and remains the reason why I can confidentally recommend AIM to anyone.

    Thank you!

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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