Schuurman in chapter three of his book, Vocation, lists four characteristics needed for fulfilling our calling in life. The first one is "A sense of dependence." This is demonstrated by our faith in God. This faith conquers anxiety and resentment. The author notes, "Seen theologically, anxiety and resentment are ultimately failures to trust in the God in whom we live and move and have our being" (54). The author asserts that the concept of calling helps us to see how our dependance is "a reminder of the various ways in which we are called to love God and neighbor." God uses us to accomplish His will and uses others to meet our needs.
The second characteristic is "a sense of gratitude." Gratitude complements dependence. Schuurman asserts, "Everything that contributes to life and its flourishing is a gift freely given from God" (56). Gratitude opens us to experience God's call. We understand that God has given much to us and we are to give to others. Gratitude makes us responsive to the needs of others. We will want to serve others with the gifts God has given us.
"A sense of obligation" is the third trait discussed. The author notes, "The sense of obligation arises out of our experiences of being sustained by others, recognizing our own dependence on orderly processes, knowing that orderly processes require our participation, and realizing that others depend upon our attention and care" (61). We are interdependent beings. We have been helped by others to get to our current place of usefulness. God calls us to help others to flourish in their lives. The author also sees our current obligations as showing God's callings in our life: "Our duties as children, parents, spouses, employers, employees, friends, and citizens are particular expressions of God's command to love God and neighbor" (63). We are to be faithful where God has placed us and to fulfill our responsibilities and obligations to those around us. People too often see God's calling as future and do not see God's callings in the present.
The fourth is "a sense of meaning." Most people are searching for a way to find meaning in their life. They want their life to count for something. They want to be part of something larger than themselves. The author states that we find meaning "by identifying parts and linking them to each other, forming larger wholes . . . these wholes are goods, ends, values that give meaning and purpose to life" (65). Schuurman states that the "doctrine of vocation encourages to connect all aspects of our present, past, and future to God's plans and purposes" (66). We want to connect our callings to God's purposes for the world.