Thursday, June 18, 2015

Alma 22:31 -- On Labels

"And they came from there up into the south wilderness. Thus the land on the northward was called Desolation, and the land on the southward was called Bountiful, it being the wilderness which is filled with all manner of wild animals of every kind, a part of which had come from the land northward for food."
Alma 22:31

The interesting thing to me here are the names for the lands.  Can you imagine living in a place called Desolation?  Yikes. ;)  And Bountiful just makes everything sound a little better.  It made me think about the way we label things in our lives, even ourselves sometimes.  We say "oh, I'm not good at that" or "that's just who I am." ... But is it?  If the land of Desolation was called something else, like Plentiful, or Beauty, or Canada even... wouldn't we start changing the way we think about it, and start noticing and focusing on different things?  And if we stop labeling ourselves and other people and assuming we just are a certain way, and realize that we can change... then maybe we can, and will. We do it with other people as well, defining them sometimes by the mistakes they've made, or by something that we don't like about them rather than by the potential God sees in them, and the hope that he has for them.  The hope that maybe we should have a little bit more of, for each other.
If we're going to choose labels for our lands, and our lives, the people around us, and ourselves, let's choose some positive ones.  Let's use words like Hope and Faith and Love.  Let's see the bounty around us rather than the desolation.  Not saying that we shouldn't see reality.  Only that there are a lot of things to focus on in reality.  The Nephites focused on the lack of trees in the north, but later people learned to make houses that didn't involve wood, and they prospered there as well. :)  With God's help, let's find the opportunities where we are, and choose positive labels for ourselves and the people we encounter.

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