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24/7 Living vs. 7 Unforced Rhythms of Grace

Some of us grew up before the term “24/7” made its debut in Sports Illustrated in 1983. All of us live with it now.

The term started innocently enough. LSU basketball star Jerry Reynolds said his jump shot was good “24-7-365”. His point was constant reliability, but as the term caught on in the shortened form, 24/7, it came to mean constant engagement. And then, as we all know, things started to get ugly.

The evening news became the 24/7 news. The phone that was on the wall at home became the phone in your pocket 24/7. E-mail and text allowed bosses to pressure employees 24/7. And now social media puts on 24/7 pressure to perform, not to mention 24/7 FOMO.

In a 24/7 world, too much is never enough. But is too much too much? And is less more? Bloggers Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus have been fantastically successful in the past few years confronting the hyperactive 24/7 lifestyle and proposing the “minimalist” alternative, arguing that less stuff means more life, less activity means more room to breathe—very good news for people choked by 24/7.

The minimalists are doing the world a huge favor by exposing the way 24/7 sucks the life out of us instead of giving us the full life it promises. They tune out the 24/7 rhythm in order to create some space for authentic life. But they leave it to each of us to decide how to use that space—how to define and pursue authentic life.

Jesus goes a step further than tuning 24/7 out. He drowns out the 24/7 rhythm with other rhythms of his own, and he makes us a promise: “Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. . . Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11.29-30, The Message)

If that sounds like a breath of fresh air to you, check out, the website I have devoted to promoting seven of these “unforced rhythms of grace” in an annual cycle. (Spoiler alert: the seven rhythms in my set are life, roots, freedom, power, mercy, honor, and vision--seven of the main blessings we receive in Christ and spread to others.)

24/7, pedal-to-the-metal living is all selfish effort, trying to force the world to give you what you want. These seven grace rhythms are unforced and unselfish. You relax, listen, and dance to them, and they give you what you need. In fact, they fill you so full of life that some of it spills over to those around you.

In the SYNC annual cycle of rhythms, it is “Freedom Season” from April 2 through May 17th, a great time of year to break free from the 24/7 pattern and what it is doing to you. Explore the freedom “tool kit” here (nothing to buy; no registration).

Why choke on 24/7 when you could SYNC with the rhythms of grace?

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