Asking the right questions on happiness

Published 8:53 pm Monday, June 25, 2018

You know how I love patterns in the Bible and in life. Maybe you know there is a pattern in the book of Psalms in the Bible; it’s divided into five books reflecting the first five books of the Bible. Psalms 1-41 focus on mankind reflecting the book of Genesis. Psalms 42-72 focus on deliverance reflecting the book of Exodus. Psalms 73-89 focus on the sanctuary reflecting the book of Leviticus. Psalms 90-106 focus on unrest and wandering reflecting the book of Numbers. And Psalms 107-150 focus on God’s Word reflecting Deuteronomy. It’s not the only way to organize Psalms, but it’s a common way.

Today we’re in the fifth book reflecting God’s Word much like Deuteronomy. This is a section on praise, so I looked it up in the dictionary. It means “to express a favorable judgment.” Thanksgiving on the other hand means “to express gratitude.” Praise focuses on who God is; thanksgiving focuses on what he’s done for us.

“I will proclaim your greatness, my God and king; I will thank you forever and ever. Every day I will thank you; I will praise you forever and ever. The Lord is great and is to be highly praised; his greatness is beyond understanding… I will always praise the Lord; let all his creatures praise his holy name forever.”

That started me wondering who are the happiest people in America?, using the U. S. Census Bureau, researched six criteria to define the happiest zip codes in America. They looked at unemployment, commute times, percent of salaries above $25,000, percentage of married, percentage of homeowners and percentage with a bachelor’s degree or more. Using those criteria, the ten happiest zip codes are were 95497: Sea Ranch, California, 83220: Bern, Idaho, 50323: Urbandale, Iowa, 12812: Blue Mountain Lake, New York, 52411: Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 67230: Wichita, Kansas, 64167: Kansas City, Missouri, 58016: Clifford, North Dakota, 35223: Birmingham, Alabama, and 03751: Georges Mills, New Hampshire. The first thing I noticed was the preponderance of northern zip codes?

Birmingham, Alabama is #9, Mars Hill, North Carolina is #27, Durham, North Carolina is #33, and Nashville, Tennessee is #47 — four southern cities out of 50. It’s an interesting observation, but maybe whether you and your family are happy is more important than whether you live in one of the happiest zip codes. So the question is not, “Do you live in a happy zip code?” The real question is, “Are you happy?”