“Everyone was expecting the Messiah to come soon,
and they were eager to know whether John might be the Messiah.”
– Luke 3:15
As coaches, we know all too well about expectations. An expectation is defined as “a strong belief that something will happen in the future.” We establish measurable goals for our athletes regarding strength and speed. We expect to be more successful on the field or court if our athletes are stronger and faster. If we have a large group of talented juniors on our team this season, we automatically expect them to be even better next season. The problem with expectations is that they can set us up for disappointment. If we aren’t careful, expectations can suck the life out of us and steal our confidence. Sport psychologists tell us to replace expectations with manageable objectives. If you expect to be a great free throw shooter, learn to control your breathing, concentrate on the rim and follow through with your shot. Focusing on what you can control and the results will usually follow.

When John the Baptist appeared on the scene, there was great excitement and expectation. The people were curious to know if John was the long-awaited Messiah. It had been four hundred years since Israel had last seen a prophet. It was a common belief that the prophets would return after the Messiah came. If John was a prophet, then surely the Messiah had arrived. If John wasn’t a prophet, then could he actually be the Messiah? The expectations of the Israelites were off the chart, but their confidence was a little shaky. John answered their questions by telling them that “someone is coming who is greater than I.” I can only imagine that John also told them to focus on manageable objectives—pray, listen to the promptings from God and continue to believe in His promises. The Messiah may not be here yet,  but He is coming!

Heavenly Father, keep my expectations in check. Help me to control what I can control and leave the rest to You. Amen.