5 Advantages to not Knowing the End from the Beginning

beginningendI’m not a big fan of uncertainty. In many instances, I would prefer to not only see the light at the end of the tunnel, but also the brand of the lamp, the wattage of the bulb, and the color of the wiring.

I recently finished the first draft of my latest novel. It’s the fifth novel I’ve gotten this far (I’ve started many others), but it might as well be the first. It’s still gut-wrenchingly hard work.

For me, writing a novel is a scary thing mostly because I don’t know if it’s all going to come together in the end. Or rather, I doubt my ability to create a worthy end product from my initial scraps of ideas. Even when I work from an outline, anything can happen on the road from the first to the last word. Which sounds kind of exciting now that I write it out, but for me “anything” often means plot holes, dead ends, and road signs with inscriptions like “you call this writing??

But as I finished that first draft, I realized something: uncertainly isn’t all bad. Here are a few reasons to, if not embrace uncertainty, then at least tolerate it.

5 Advantages to not Knowing the End from the Beginning

1. You may find pleasant surprises along the way. I usually start a novel with a rough outline of where it’s headed, but I’m always surprised on the road to “the end.” For the book I just wrote, I got goosebumps several times as my mind and spirit made connections I probably couldn’t have made before I put pen to paper. (or in my case, fingers on keyboard)

2. You won’t know about the unpleasant surprises waiting along the way. If you did, you might give up before you even get going, not believing you have the strength to overcome those obstacles that pop up even on the smoothest of roads. For example, I know how hard writing is, but don’t remember exactly how hard until I actually write. And it’s a good thing – otherwise I would probably scrap the project before starting it.

3. You can focus on the now instead of a distant point in the future. Learning to enjoy the present instead of always gazing to the future is surprisingly hard! I actually have trouble with this even when I accomplish an end goal. As soon as I finished my first draft, for example, I immediately started thinking of changes I needed to make, things I needed to add…I have yet to actually celebrate my accomplishment!

4. You may never get to the end. I hinted at this already, but it’s not only a daunting road that keeps us from doing what we need to do. If we knew everything was going to work out just fine in the end, we may not bother putting in much work.

5. You have a perfect opportunity to develop trust in God. If you are on His errand, He will help you accomplish what you need to accomplish. I am still learning to trust in Him, but without His help, I would have quit writing before I even started.

I probably still prefer to know all about the light at the end of the tunnels I pass through. But I take comfort in the knowledge that God has given me tunnels for a reason, and that he is the light at the end of all of them.

My name is Jehovah, and I know the end from the beginning;
therefore my hand shall be over thee. (Abraham 2:8)


  1. Beautiful tie-ins, Angelica!

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