Sunday, January 25, 2009

Optimism: Feed your faith and starve your fears!

As I’ve contemplated the source of my personal optimism, I’ve discovered that there are but a few songs that have contributed.

I was surprised, and a bit appalled, at how few of the songs that haunt the recesses of my mind are positive and uplifting.

Perhaps this is not too surprising if you consider the personal histories of many of the pop-artists, lyricists, and poets behind the songs we hear.

None-the-less, I was surprised.

(It also gave me some clue as to why at other times in life I’ve struggled to overcome angst, despair, and hopelessness. The play-list that supports that outlook would be much, much longer.)

Today, being Sunday, I’ve chosen a song that I learned in my late 20’s. Written by a Christian woman named Frances J. Crosby and published in 1875, it has passed the test of time.

I find myself humming this song every week or so; usually when I’m feeling on the verge of being overwhelmed, or sad, or just mildly discouraged. (Optimists often swim upstream, against the current of circumstance and negativity!)

Franny was a prolific songwriter, and she was blind. Her songs were born of a personal, practical faith that reverberates in troubled hearts more than a century after they were written.

One of her songs fuel my faith and optimism:

All the Way My Savior Leads Me

All the way my Savior leads me,
What have I to ask beside?
Can I doubt His tender mercy,
Who through life has been my Guide?
Heav’nly peace, divinest comfort,
Here by faith in Him to dwell!
For I know, whate’er befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well;
For I know, whate’er befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well.

All the way my Savior leads me,
Cheers each winding path I tread,
Gives me grace for every trial,
Feeds me with the living Bread.
Though my weary steps may falter
And my soul athirst may be,
Gushing from the Rock before me,
Lo! A spring of joy I see;
Gushing from the Rock before me,
Lo! A spring of joy I see.

All the way my Savior leads me,
Oh, the fullness of His love!
Perfect rest to me is promised
In my Father’s house above.
When my spirit, clothed immortal,
Wings its flight to realms of day
This my song through endless ages:
Jesus led me all the way;
This my song through endless ages:
Jesus led me all the way.

My optimism is fueled in large part by the story of Christ. He overcame the greatest of apparent defeats: death. The Resurrection of Christ stands as an emblem of a never-too-late outlook and reality.

Bad things “befall me.” I tread “winding paths.” My “weary steps” falter, and my soul becomes “athirst.” But… All the Way My Savior Leads Me!

Jesus has been my dearest Friend, greatest Comfort, surest Guide, and truest Encourager. Sometimes he speaks via the breeze, the kind act of another, a passage of Scripture, or the song of a middle-aged blind woman.

To think one will journey through life unscathed by its hurts and disappointments is naïve. To believe that one must bear this weight alone is unnecessary.

“This my song through endless ages: Jesus led me all the way.”

That’s my song, and I’m stickin’ to it!

(What song is fueling your outlook? How’s that working for you?) ;-)

Happy Sunday!


  1. Most Happy Sunday :o)

    I have many songs that fuel my optimism, my awe of our Creator, my devotion, my "happy" dance. I couldn't name only one...and the one that is in me, fuels me best. It's not a song that anyone else has heard. It's a song filled with divine music, that we dance to as I live with Him leading ;o).

    Bless you this wonderful day.

    And your photo's.

  2. Like you, there aren't too many 'optimistic' songs on my life's playlist. But I wouldn't say any one song defines me or my outlook.

    This reminds me of being back in college, and purchasing Alanis Morissette's third album. That particular semester was huge when it came to personal obstacles. And oftentimes Alanis speaks my mind, and I looked to her lyrics for clarity.

    Two years later I found that she had released another album shortly after with songs she had left off of the third one. My opinion in, that 'feast of scraps' is her best album, and it also has songs that I really, really NEEDED to hear that fateful semester. Sometimes I wonder how things might have been different if she could have spoken those words to me then.