When Your Heart is Set on Norman Rockwell But Life Hands You Archie Bunker


Live expectantly without expectations

I’ve shared this with you all before but since I needed the reminder recently, then maybe you do too. I’ve come to believe that living expectantly without expectations is the best way to walk through life…especially if you’re a recovering control freak like me. The first time I can remember applying this type of living I was heading home to visit my family in Arizona.  I love my family but trips home used to leave me feeling sad and disappointed. When I was younger, I would have unrealistically high hopes for a Norman Rockwell picture visit but it always ended up looking like or feeling more like the Archie Bunker picture. Okay, maybe not that bad…but it never turned out looking like the picture I had created in my mind.

Then, one year, I decided to apply the above approach: Live expectantly without expectations. And, for the first time, I didn’t return from one of my visits feeling let down or disappointed.  I’d genuinely had a great time! This approach helped me to just enjoy the moments, to enjoy the being there.  To live expectantly means that we have joy and hope for what is to come, but it also has a way of supplying us with joy and hope in the moment too.  If we do this without expectations or preconceived notions on how everything is going to play out, then we aren’t disappointed if it plays out one way over another way.

Vacations are much more satisfying if I do more being and less expecting.  Life is more satisfying if I do more being and less expecting.

In a sense, we are just along for the ride, enjoying the view out the window.  We can be excited for what might be coming around the corner but we aren’t “let down” if the scenery doesn’t look a certain way when we get there. It is what it is. We accept it and, surprisingly, we even learn to embrace and cherish it. We are able to see the hidden beauty tucked away in the less than perfect.

I like how I can apply this way of living to every area of my life.  When I am able to live it out, I’m much happier. Yet there are still times I forget. There are times I have my heart set on a scene playing out a certain way and when it doesn’t, I am sad. This happened just the other day and it left me in quite a funk for the next several hours.  Why?  Because I had allowed my heart to fully attach itself to a certain outcome. I forgot that there are twists and turns along the road and that, sometimes, (most of the time) God is holding a different version of the map.

Today, I want to rely on the map holder. I want to live with joy and hope of what’s around the corner but I don’t want to make the mistake of thinking that what He has in store will look or feel a certain way.

I want to enjoy the ride and trust that He knows the way.


But, me, I’m not giving up. I’m sticking around to see what God will do.”  – Micah 7:7 Message

“Be brave, Be strong. Don’t Give up. Expect God to get here soon.”  Psalm 31: 24

“Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder.” Romans 12: 11-12


4 thoughts on “When Your Heart is Set on Norman Rockwell But Life Hands You Archie Bunker

  1. Cheryl E

    What a great reminder! I know I get caught up in expectations and then get disappointed when things don’t play out the way I’d hoped. Living expectantly without expectations………I like that!!!

  2. bill (cycleguy)

    Great attitude to have Eileen. Live expectantly. I choose to do that and live life to the fullest. Living expectantly without expectations allows us to live and go with the flow, so to speak.


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