Dr. Lisa Sinclair
Oct 6, 2021
“Is the need the same as the call?”
From the beginning of my faith journey, I understood that my call was to Jesus. I was called to follow Him, to abide in Him, to depend on Him...
Editor’s Note: Dr. Lisa Sinclair is a retired psychiatric nurse practitioner and medical missionary. She is a writer, editor, church leadership team member, and mission consultant. She is Rev. Elisabeth’s mom, and she wrote this article in response to questions drawn from the Proverbs 31 woman’s seemingly seamless discernment between need and call.
“From the beginning of my faith journey, I understood that my call was to Jesus. I was called to follow Him, to abide in Him, to depend on Him. To obey Him. Not matter my circumstances, this was and is my primary call and all other considerations are secondary.
This understanding of call was profoundly influenced by our former pastor and my lifetime mentors, Stuart and Jill Briscoe. They always said and modeled (even into their 90s) that we are to accept any request to minister unless we were unable to. This meant a “yes” to almost every presented need. This also meant guilt about ever saying, “No”! Over time, I learned that what was right for Stuart and Jill was not necessarily right for me. Some of us must become more sensitive and responsive to the needs around us, whereas others of us must develop life-giving boundaries.
Sometimes I am unbalanced, swinging like a pendulum between need and call, but Jesus is my anchoring center, where needs and call do not conflict. When I am “centered,” great needs, inside and out, may pull at me, but I can peacefully and prayerfully take them to Jesus. In prayer, I can review my experiences of consolation and desolation in prayer and form a response.
In my life, there have been many calls within the primary call to Jesus: a call to marriage with its lifetime vows; a call to missions’ work in Mali, West Africa; a call to profession, education, and language learning. These all opened doors to addressing needs. As Mother Theresa said, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”
Often, I have made mistakes in discerning when to say yes or no to needs I encounter. I have experienced confusion and frustration in the long work of untangling need from call.. I am still learning to daily step into our Lord’s footprints. The call is always to Him; sometimes the need is obviously right in that path, but sometimes it is not so clear. And sometimes I have no idea how to respond, and I err in my response. But as I surrender my (little) love and little deeds, Jesus brings me back to center. He blesses my offerings and failures and bids me to follow Him.”