If you’re a bit older like me, the words ‘The Brady Bunch” would have meaning. Yes, I’m talking about the ever popular American TV sitcom series “The Brady Bunch” shown in the 1970’s, and was very popular. You may have seen episodes, with Mike his 3 sons and Carol with her 3 daughters, all living together in a double story house. Tiger the dog, and the lovable live in housekeeper Alice.
I’m grateful to the Way Cry magazine for alerting me to the fact that Alice, whose real name was Ann Davis, died in early June 2014 aged 88 years. She was a much loved character. But before The Brady Bunch, she was an accomplished actor and star on the Hollywood walk of fame. But in real life she did something quite unusual – she walked away from the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, and at age 51, joined a Christian commune in Denver. It was a startling decision which amazed many of her friends. She had a Christian upbringing in the Episcopalian church and would readily talk of her faith in God and commitment to Jesus Christ.
She wanted a quiet life away from the cameras and moved in with a Bishop and his wife and lived a simple life. She volunteered at a homeless men’s shelter washing the men’s clothes, and attended daily Bible studies. Here’s what she said “I was tired of show business. I decided to sell my house in Los Angeles and yield control to the Lord. He wanted me to keep my mouth shut for a while” , such was her humour. Then in 1992 in an interview with People magazine, she said “I’m convinced we all have a God-shaped space in us, and until we fill that space with God, we’ll never know what it is to be whole. I spent a lot of time giving Christian witness all over the country to church groups and stuff. My faith changed my whole life for the better”. If anyone wanted her autograph, she insisted it be written on a church bulletin, so their friends would see that she went to church.
Ann B Davis left a powerful legacy. For millions of people she was an example of a good person, trying to do her best in a chaotic household of 2 families, cleaning up their mess. But in real life, her faith in God drove her and meant more than money or fame. What interests me is her statement “God has made me whole”. She was speaking about something very important. What does it mean be to be whole? To be a whole person is to be able to live life fully and happily and productively like a person should be able to live. That is really what we want for ourselves, isn’t it?
I believe that every person, religious or not, will have these same basic needs:
1. The need for meaning and purpose
2. The need to give love
3. The need to receive love
4. The need for forgiveness, creativity and hope.
Everyone of us needs to feel as though we are a player in the shaping of our future. We need hope for tomorrow.
Wholeness might mean being well in spirit, mind and body. We are not beings of separate and distinctively different components, but a whole person. We are a spirit who has a soul that lives in a body. All of these aspects of man are inextricably interwoven. To be whole, to be complete, each aspect of a person must be well. When any aspect of our being is not well, the other aspects are adversely affected.
When we accept Jesus as our Saviour, just as Ann Davis did, God’s Spirit, his Holy Spirit, begins to live inside us. As we allow, our spirit is affected by the Holy Spirit. Our spirit begins to take on the attributes of the Holy Spirit. This new nature will begin to affect our soul. Our entire mindset about God, our self, others and life can be transformed. Our thought patterns can become different.
In turn, we can radically change many of our emotions and how we react to life circumstances. As I said earlier, we don’t have to live under our circumstances. As we are guided by God’s principles as found in the Bible, our resulting choices and behaviours will become more and more in line with how God wants us to live. This is how we become a complete or whole person in spirit, soul and body.
So often, we try to make major changes in our life on our own strength. We leave God out of the picture. We want to row our own boat in life and prove we are someone. But you can’t achieve a good degree of wholeness in your own strength and abilities. The type of transformation that brings a sense of wholeness can only be done by the one who created you – by God himself. If we are to be whole, we must invite God into the deepest part of who we are – into our spirit and into our soul – so that from the inside out, we can be transformed into the type of person God wants us to be.
Our spirit, soul and body are constantly interacting together, as a whole, as a complete person. That’s the way God designed us.
1 Thessalonians 5:23 from the Bible gives us this wonderful verse, “May God himself, the God who makes everything holy and whole, make you holy and whole, put you together—spirit, soul, and body.” John 3:16 indicates that God loves us so much that He sent His son Jesus to die for us so that we might have an eternally full life.