Are you happy? In a recent poll, only one out of three Americans said they are happy.
In his latest book, minister and best-selling author Max Lucado provides a personal plan for a life filled with lasting and fulfilling joy, supported by Jesus' teaching and modern research. The new book is titled How Happiness Happens.
Far too many people are unable to "check the happiness box" and Lucado is concerned about that. His new book sheds some light on how we can change the dynamic and live more meaningful lives with a deeper joy than comes with our current obsession with the next big thing we seem to be waiting for to fulfill us.
He recently spoke about an unexpected path to lasting happiness, one that produces reliable joy in any season of life, on Delilah Rene's popular podcast Love Someone with Delilah.
"We all think if I could just get more. Acquire more. Retire early -- then I'll really be happy. The truth of the matter is, there is a joy level, a happy level...a happiness that happens when we serve other people," Lucado explained. "When we love other people, when we care about other people. It's risky you know it's risky, because that love may not be reciprocated."
"But the joy that comes from honestly loving and caring about another human being creates something that no Madison Avenue or marketing campaign can ever deliver," he noted.
We Think Having More Things Can Bring Us Happiness
Lucado also spoke about how we often think that certain things can bring us happiness.
"And it works for a little bit. You buy a new car and you love that new car smell. Or you change your hair color and its really nice. But there's something that does happen -- but then, it begins to dissipate. It begins to fade away. And you have to recycle it so you have to go after the next thing," he added.
"And when you get to be an old person like me," Lucado chuckled, "if that has been your life, circumstantial happiness, happiness that only happens when your circumstances are different, it's easy to get bitter or deeply sad. Either bitter at the world, because you got the raw deal or deeply sad and say, 'Well, happiness was never intended to come my way.'"
"When the truth of the matter is, it was there, you're just knocking on the wrong door," he added.
Why It's Better to Give Than Receive
Lucado says the Bible addresses how we should deal with unhappiness.
"It's really rooted in the teaching of Jesus where he said it's better to give than receive. There's a joy that surges when we give as opposed to when we receive," he explained.
"So in the book, I unpack ways that we can increase our happiness level by being kind to others, by doing good things to others, encourage one another, build up one another, greet one another, forgive one another. All of these "one another" verses really open the door to a sense of happiness and well-being. And it's something we can all do immediately," Lucado said.
Delilah Opens Up About Her Own Family Tragedy
As CBN News reported, Delilah, a mother of 13 (10 adopted), last year opened up about the tragedy that unfolded when her son Zachariah took his own life – and how she got through it.
Lucado also told the popular radio host during the podcast that she inspired him by how she handled the death of her son.
"You're willing to be a source of encouragement to others. You speak with a sense of seasoned wisdom that came as a result of this. And that ability to land somewhat on your feet even though you tried to keep your balance is a source of inspiration for people like me and for others who are inspired and admire you so much," the best-selling author said.
In an interview with CBS last year, Delilah said that despite his depression, her son was still making plans for the future in the days leading up to his suicide.
She said it was just 10 days earlier that he stopped taking his anti-depressants and told his friends "the side effects are killing me."
"I know it was the medication," Delilah said. "He left a 9-page letter and there was no mention of sorrow, no mention of loneliness, or sadness... it was insane ramblings. It was the writings of a crazy person."
She later added, "I found out that the medicine that they'd been giving him... the drug makers know that in people under 25 years old, 47 percent of the time it causes more suicidal ideas."
Delilah wouldn't name the medication but urged parents to investigate and research the prescriptions their children are given.
"We never knew we were giving him a poison," she said. "We thought we were helping."
Through all of this though, Delilah went on to say that while it has been hard, she's still "the most blessed person I know."
"I would not be standing if it weren't for the prayers of my friends, my family, and my listeners," Delilah said.
She added, "So many listeners sent the most beautiful thoughts and prayers and shared their own stories of loss ... and grief, and what helped them get through."
She previously lost another son, 16-year-old Sammy, to complications from sickle cell anemia in 2012.
She spoke with CBN's The 700 Club in 2012 about her spiritual journey saying "my faith in God is so important to me and gives me so much joy and hope."
Delilah's podcast episodes are posted on the second and fourth Tuesdays of every month. Past podcast episodes have included Gloria Gaynor, Daughtry, Katy Perry, Wynonna, Michael Buble', Barry Manilow, Sam Smith, Miranda Lambert and more. You can find all of her podcasts here.
You can also catch her syndicated radio program that airs on more than 160 radio stations around the country.