“Do you remember when we were in school and kids used to ask, ‘When will we ever really use this in life?’ Well, this is when we would need it, in this very moment.” I said this to my cousin recently with a smile parting my lips, as I stared down the shaft of my cue stick, lining it up precisely at the angle I knew I needed in order to hit the ball to make it into the pocket. We were playing pool, and for the first time ever I played extremely well. I owe my skills that night to my keen attention to geometry in middle school and high school. That night, I won three games back-to-back against my cousin. For the sake of protecting her identity, I will not name her (LOL). My cousin does not know this, but I have not been able to forget that night. Not because I had such great victory, but because I learned something valuable. Precision precedes excision! I’ll say it again, precision precedes excision! The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the word “excision” this way, “The act or procedure of removing by or as if by cutting out.” So, let’s look at excision as a removal or cutting out. There are only five days left before we enter the New Year. I can already sense 2019 will be a year of "level up". In order for this to occur, an excision first has to take place. In the game of pool, in order to win, you must remove your billiard balls from the table by shooting them into the pockets every time you have a turn. There is no win without excision in the game of pool. The same can be said about real life. How many of you know in order to move onto the next level, there are some things, or maybe even people, you will be required to cut out to make room for your next? If you have ever played the game of pool, you know that sometimes you may get lucky just winging it. If you shoot without precision, without much of a strategy and just shoot hard, you may get lucky and eliminate a ball or two. However, if you are intentional about winning and you are focused on getting a victory, you ought to shoot with precision. Much like I did that night, relying on my knowledge of angles and mapping out certain points on the table where I knew if I focused my shot on that particular spot, with the right power and momentum, there was a high chance I was getting a win. Again, the same can be said about life. If you want to experience the level up God has in store for you in 2019, you have to make room for it! You must shoot with precision these last five days and remove everything that is currently standing in the way of your victory. Step back and assess the table set before you (your life), your circumstances, the odds stacked against you, the favorable possibilities. Evaluate it from different angles. What should your focal point be? What shot shows the most promise? What are you holding on to that MUST be eliminated in the next five days and left behind in 2018? Much like in pool, where you assess the arrangement of the table and you envision the best setup for a victorious game, you map out in your mind how your next play will alter the current setup and what pockets provide the best exit strategy for the removal of your balls. You may change positions a few times before deciding on an angle and taking your best shot. The book of Proverbs encourages us to have a vision and to be strategic in the same way when it says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish,” and, “The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty.” You must be able to envision the level up, what it looks like, what is required to get there, what moves need to be made to secure it. You need a precise plan. The key is to always ensure that your vision aligns with God's will. Sister, I encourage you today to assess your life and current circumstances, and heed to the direction God is telling you to follow in this season. Will you operate prayerfully with precision and allow it to lead to the excision of the balls labeled doubt, worry, fear, shame, guilt, stubbornness, resentment, bitterness, complacency, disobedience, hate, jealousy, laziness, selfishness, toxic relationships, unhealthy friendships, etc.? Sis, you have five days to walk into 2019 with boldness and godly confidence, knowing that the odds are already in your favor and you are headed towards your level up because you were prayerful, precise, diligent, and purposeful. Wishing you a Happy New Year, and here’s to the level up!