Let’s talk about that thing on your calendar. You know, that thing you have to do, attend, or complete. That thing.

Got it?

How are you going to get there?

Obviously, on one level it will arrive on it’s own. What I’m asking is, how will you spend your time waiting for it to show up? And how will your choice about how to spend your time influence what it looks like by the time it rings your doorbell?

You could obsess a little. Turn it over and over in your mind, imagining potential pain, failure, and nuclear meltdown. You could stew on what he might say, what she might do, and how your life could very well get flushed down the toilet.

In other words, you could worry.

Worry, someone has said, is a waste of the imagination. It’s manufacturing a negative fictional future, stepping into it to try it on for size, and then returning to the present moment as if it’s a given reality. But listen: Worry is a false prophecy factory. Most of what we worry about never happens, and what actually happens is never exactly what we envisioned.

Or, you could pray.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6,7).

Prayer is an ideal use of the imagination. In prayer, we take Jesus’ hand and walk into the potential future in our mind’s eye, asking him to give us the right picture to begin with. As we try on this potential future for size, we become aware of things that must happen for this good future to materialize. Some of these things require our obedience, while others require his intervention. In other words, some of it is my job, and some belongs to God. The stuff that belongs to God, we ask him to take care of. And then, once we’ve had that conversation, we trust him with it. We return to the present moment at peace, because we’ve already “seen” the future, and God has it covered.

Try it: Use prayer to pre-navigate your future. True, the future rarely looks like we thought it would once it actually arrives, but it will look a lot more like it needs to if we walk with the God who’s already there and wants to prepare us for it.