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Sports Spectrum Daily Devotional: Wednesday, July 15

“Yet when I hoped for good, evil came; when I looked for light, then came darkness.” — Job 30:26

Unrealistic Expectations Lead to Anxiety

I don’t understand why people like scary movies. My idea of fun is not getting comfortable in the seat of a darkened room, relaxing with popcorn, and having actors carry on an average conversation to then have some creature jump into the screen with a shrill. Some people like that anxiety even though it is called a thrill.

We all have a human, fleshly influence in which we naturally expect things to go smoothly — such as traffic, finances and health, only to be distraught when they don’t. A flat tire, a loss in a competitive event or sickness have the potential to derail us.

One of the biggest disappointments as an athlete is not just losing, but being upset by an underdog. I remember being part of a team in the playoffs against an opponent we had twice beaten in the regular season, but they upset us because we’d overlooked them. Although not all the time, many times our anxiety grows out of fear of the unknown, especially when we get too comfortable and expect things to go smoothly. When things go wrong, we begin asking, “How do we fix this?”

In today’s verse above, we know Job is lamenting the difficulties he faced. Despite Job’s positive relationship with God, he was tested. Job admitted that he expected his wealth, health and prosperity to protect him, but God had a detour from that expectation. From the story of Job, we know that God is always with us and cares for us. We also know that everything we have comes from God.

In sports as in life, the best we can do is prepare to compete and trust God daily, knowing that we will often fail and surprises will occur. Our focus should be on that relationship with God rather than anticipating wealth, health and prosperity. We can also change our view of having realistic expectations, that everything is a gift from God, and trust that God will walk beside us when challenges lurk.

— Sawyer Nix, mental performance coach/sports counselor

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