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Life, Creativity, and Lessons from Triathlon

Dec 2 2015

We care far too much about what other people think of us.

In my experience working with musicians, artists, and the like, this is one obstacle that seems to challenge our potential the most — maybe this hasn’t been true for you, but it’s definitely been true for me.

Along with overseeing our Hillsong creative team in Queensland, I also immensely enjoy the sport of triathlon. Over the last couple of years I have trained for and competed in two Ironman events, each encompassing a 3.8km swim, 180km bike-ride, and a 42.2km run (a.k.a. really, really far!)

Training for a triathlon is a lot like serving in a worship team.

Suffice it to say, the true challenge of a triathlon isn’t just the race itself but the countless hours of training across months (and even years), in the lead up to the main event. By nature, this type of endurance sport is an audacious goal, the success of which is contingent upon excelling in the daily discipline of unseen preparation.

Doesn’t this sound a lot like the Christian life? I think so.

Whether it be training for your own race, or whatever goals you might have in your creative and artistic endeavours, here are a few things that triathlons have taught me about discipline, serving, and life in general.

1. Long-term success starts with daily discipline.

Do what matters, not what impresses. Sometimes (not often) people are impressed by how far I rode my bike over the weekend. But whether people are impressed or not, it doesn’t make me any stronger, faster, or fitter. What matters is that I did the work.

The same can be said for you. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter that people are (or aren’t) impressed by how well you sing. What matters is that you’re faithful with what God has put in your hands. It’s from Jesus that we’ll hear the words of Matthew 25:21, “Well done good and faithful servant.” It’s His accolade that counts.

2. Strong foundations require unseen work

No one, not even my closest friends, know or care whether my early morning swim covered 5km or if I got cold and quit early! But I know. And months later, when it comes time to reap what I’ve sown, it makes all the difference in the world.

In life, that’s called integrity. No one sees your journey of integrity but you. But people will see the fruit of it over time. No one sees you when you pray, or when you read your Bible. And nor should they. Matthew 6:5-6 makes it clear that these things that matter so much are seen by God and it’s Him that will bring reward.

To all my creative, artistic, musically inclined friends, I’d encourage you with this:

In the Christian walk and triathlons alike, our public achievements will only be as strong as our unseen foundations go deep.

Remember this, and we’ll remember to live and make our daily decisions based not on the opinion and accolade of others but on the daily pursuit of Christ!

Brad Kohring