Guinness World Records has confirmed that Samantha Ramsdell is the record holder for the world’s largest mouth gape for a female. Hers measures two and a half inches; when measured across, it reaches more than four inches.
Ramsdell has 1.7 million TikTok followers and has used her mouth frequently in videos. She has stuffed three donuts in her mouth and fit in a large order of fries, for instance. She says her mouth used to be “something that really I was so insecure about, something that I wanted to keep so small.” Now she says that it’s “one of the biggest, best things about me.”
Samantha adds: “It’s your superpower. It’s the thing that makes you unique and special. Everyone should be celebrating what makes them different.”
Three ways we know everything we know
Samantha is right: we each have a “superpower.” We are each uniquely made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27) with gifts, abilities, experiences, and opportunities that are uniquely ours.
If we are to be Jesus’ witnesses (Acts 1:8) by making disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19), it stands to reason that we should discover the way we can best fulfill his commission.
For example, philosophers tell us that we learn all we know in one of three ways: the intuitive, the pragmatic, and the rational. We do math rationally; we start our cars pragmatically (unless we are automotive engineers, in which case we probably start them rationally); we like people intuitively.
We all do all three, but one tends to dominate our personality. For example, I am “wired” by God to be rational to such an extent that I have very limited intuitive capacities and sometimes do not consider the practical consequences of my rational ideas.
Three consequences follow.
One: We should know our weaknesses and trust those who are gifted in ways we are not.
My wife is highly intuitive, with discernment as one of her spiritual gifts. Rev. Jeff Byrd, my ministry partner for more than three decades, is a former engineer and business consultant and is highly pragmatic. On my good days, I consult them before making any major decisions, knowing that they will see things I will not and can predict consequences that I likely will not see.
Whom do you know who is gifted and created in ways you are not? With whom are you partnering as you partner with the Lord?
Two: We should focus our energies on strategies that play to our strengths.
Paul was a former Pharisee and student of Gamaliel. As a result, he typically began his missionary work in a town or city by engaging with the local synagogue where his personal history lent credibility to his work. William Wilberforce, a man whose family was well known to British aristocracy and governing authorities, was called by God to serve as a member of the government and use that position to help eradicate slavery.
God’s call usually aligns with our capacities. Knowing where your gifts, abilities, and experiences align is often a good way to identify your kingdom assignment.
C. S. Lewis told a congregation of Oxford University students and scholars, “A man’s upbringing, his talents, his circumstances, are usually a tolerable index of his vocation. If our parents have sent us to Oxford, if our country allows us to remain there, this is prima facie evidence that the life which we, at any rate, can best lead to the glory of God at present is the learned life.”
What is your “Oxford”?
Three: We must always trust God more than ourselves.
Even C. S. Lewis, for all his brilliance, did not possess the capacity to convict a single person of a single sin or save a single soul. Humans cannot do the work of the Spirit. Only the Father can recreate us as his children through faith in his Son (John 1:12).
While he chooses to call, equip, and use us in his kingdom enterprises, we must always remember that our work is a means to his end. We must begin every day by submitting that day to his Spirit’s leading and empowering (Ephesians 5:18). We must “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) that he would work in us and through us to make fallen people into his “new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
As we work, God works. As we do our best in his strength for his glory, he uses us in ways we will not fully understand on this side of eternity.
“I am a walking testimony”
American hurdler Kendra “Keni” Harrison won a silver medal for Team USA in the 100-meter hurdles Monday. Her achievement was the result of years of training, hard work, and sacrifice.
Nonetheless, in an interview following the event, Harrison proclaimed that “all the glory goes to God just to have this opportunity.” When she broke the world record in 2016, she stated, “I am a walking testimony of how incredible God truly is.” Her Twitter biography features the phrase, “I love Jesus.”
As we work, God works.
How will you partner with him today?