I’m only making a notation of the reference I’m going to use, so don’t label me either way based on the source of the following information. I promise there are other very good reasons to state the obvious.  A month ago 24/7 Wall St. compiled a list of the unhappiest states in America. The website used data from NiceRx, which took into consideration each state’s “poverty, mental illness, life expectancy, median household income, a safety score and homicide levels.” Then, they added their own data about each state’s air quality, water pollution, good schools and colleges, parks, and retail amenities. Here is the list of 10 unhappiest states in America: Mississippi (2.06) Louisiana (2.38) Arkansas (2.61) Alabama (3.17) West Virginia (3.19) Oklahoma (3.65) Tennessee (3.66) Kentucky (3.77) New Mexico (3.86) South Carolina (4.35).  (By the way, Florida ranks as the 24th unhappiest state.) Any guesses which the happiest state to live in is.  (A clue, it starts with the letter M.) I’m actually not going to argue methodology or results. (In my opinion, any list that doesn’t include traffic and weather should be seriously questioned.) This just got me thinking about the causes of unhappiness. Particularly, what causes my unhappiness? I’ll self-disclosure to get you primed for your own personal reflection — unreasonable expectations, worry and unlikable people. Okay, not exactly the most original list but still it’s mine.  I don’t do Facebook because it brings into my path unlikable people.  Worry brings negativity and negativity is not life-giving.  Unreasonable expectations cause me to become irritable. All resulting in a sense of unhappiness. We invite you to take some intentional time to ponder, “What causes you to be unhappy?”  Maybe, just maybe your reflecting will move you in a different direction.

Scripture Reading: Psalm 37:3-4
“Trust in the Lord, and do good; so you will live in the land, and enjoy security. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

Reflection Questions:
How does unhappiness impact your life?
What are the desires of your heart?
What makes you happy?

Prayer: Holy God, your desire for me is to enjoy the gift of today and the blessing of others.  Let me take delight in doing good and help me to always be mindful of those in need. Amen.

(Massachusetts is the happiest state to live in.)