James considers receiving feedback from others one of the major secrets of spiritual growth. He thirsts for God and so he has surrounded himself with people who help each other with their dependency on God. For him, normal Christian life is when he meets with his group and they share their vulnerabilities and encourage each other. He greatly values feedback also because his spiritual mentor told him “if you are just entering into a position of dependency on God, ask those whom you trust if they think you are needy and poor in spirit. “
James also has a family tradition called ‘sharing life time.‘ During a weekly family evening, James and his family members meet to talk about the upcoming week, deal with problems, read the Bible, pray and have ‘sharing life time.‘ All of them help each other remain dependent upon God. Each member of the family shares an area of their life which requires the help of God and others to be worked out. They have discussed issues like selfishness, lack of engagement in issues of justice and peace, withdrawing when upset, excessive use of the phone, not spending enough time with family, dealing with evil thoughts and struggling with listening to God in silence.
During sharing life time, they also ask each other “What do I do that really bugs you?” Then they all discuss ways to work on issues, and pray for each other. The following week everyone reports on his or her progress. They ask each other, “How did I do this week?” At times it takes more than a week to change. Mutual support, vulnerability, and ownership all happens during their ‘sharing life time. ‘ Sharing life is a not a new concept. In the garden of Gethsemane Jesus asked his disciples to “keep watch with him” (Matt. 26: 38). When we share our life with God and one another, receive feedback, and grow, we are following Jesus’ example.