A couple of interesting surveys caught my eye this week. The first one was a study done analyzing terms used on Twitter accounts. Researchers at the University of Vermont sifted through some 10 million tweets written in 2011. They had a list of “happy” words (like “good,” “nice,” “sleep,” and “beach”) and a list of “sad” words (like “mad,” “hate,” and “jail”) that they tracked. Based on the volume of the usage of these terms, they were able to identify the “happiest” city and state in our nation.
The “happiest city” was determined to be Napa, California. (I wonder how much wine factored into this equation.) And the “happiest state” is Hawaii!
The other survey was part of a Gallup poll. They have developed a well established index that measures 50 different metrics related to health and well-being. And for the 4th year in a row, the folks in Hawaii had the best sense of overall well-being in the nation. (In case you are wondering, West Virginia reported the worst health habits and Colorado had the best.)
So the bottom line seems to be…if you want to be happy, move to Hawaii.
But a reasonable child of God knows that location has nothing to do with our happiness. I take that back, it might have something to do with happiness, but it has nothing to do with real joy.
Joy is the product of a life spent serving the Lord. Our joy is proportionate to the kind of relationship we have with Christ. When we walk in sweet fellowship with Him, we experience joy (sometimes even in the midst of great heart ache).
Joy is the fruit of a Spirit-led life (Gal. 5:22). It is rooted in Godly relationships like those with our spouses (Prov. 5:18). Even food can bring joy when we recognize that it is a gift sent from God (I Tim. 4:4-5).
So maybe this week if our thoughts wander to how life might be if we lived on the warm sand in Hawaii, we can stop and remind ourselves that relocating to a different spot on the world’s map will not assure us joy. However much fun it might be to lie in the sun, swim with the dolphins or sip pineapple juice all day, it won’t assure us a happy life.
Instead, let’s remind ourselves where real joy comes from. Let’s make sure our rejoicing is rooted in something of substance. Look at the words found in Isaiah 61:10 “I delight greatly in the Lord, my soul rejoices in my God. For He has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of His righteousness…”
By His Grace and for His Glory,
Sherry L. Worel