The Miseducation of Chaka KhaN::
I'm Every Woman
In 1978, Chaka Khan released her debut solo, I’m Every Woman, and boy, did this song and her voice make a bold impression. Since then, it has been covered by great voices like Whitney Houston, the incomparable Aretha Franklin and the always interesting Taylor Swift.
For years, this song has served as an anthem for women. If you turn this track on in any space where women are gathered, you'll see arms begin to rhythmically float towards the sky and legs strut with a little extra dose of confidence. It'll be sung out loud as a song of great liberation and an albeit newfound assurance that, as women, we can be whatever any moment or person would require of us.
However, have you ever listened closely to it's lyric?
Whatever you want
Whatever you need
Anything you want done, baby,
I do it naturally
‘Cause I’m every woman
It’s all in me
Later, she will go on to proclaim that she is not only able to read her significant other’s thoughts and anticipate his every need, but also anytime he feels like he is danger, she will appear within an instant.
She promises to be his all-knowing, all-sufficient, and ever-present refuge and help.
Say what, Chaka?
You’ll do this naturally, you say?
Now, I know the sentiment of these lyrics is intended express to her love interest that he doesn’t need to look to another woman for the love he is longing for, but Chaka is lying. And she is putting herself under a lot of pressure by making promises she is unable to keep. She can’t be everything he needs and if she tries, she wouldn’t do it naturally.
Naturally she is insufficient.
Naturally her knowledge is limited.
Naturally she needs an ever-present refuge and help as much as he does.
This is truly a miseducation of humanity and its implications are grave.
As women, some of us have the propensity to people please, bit off more than we can chew, and/or strive for perfection. We do this in every sphere of life. Relationships. Work. Physical Appearance. Forever striving to not only be enough, but to be more than enough. (P.S. Men do this, too. #superman)
However, there is only One who is more than enough.
There was another song written in 1978. It's a little hymn called He is More Than Enough. Growing up, I would hear saints at San Francisco Temple Complex C.O.G.I.C sing this truthful refrain during Tuesday night prayer service:
He is more than enough
More than enough
He is El Shaddai (God Almighty)
He is the God of Plenty
The All Sufficient One
He is more than enough
Beloved, there is only One that can make the kind of promises that Chaka Khan makes in this song.
Let’s stop fooling ourselves and others by trying to live up to Khan’s refrain. Instead, let's find comfort in the fact that we have access to the all-sufficient, all-knowing God who promises to be our ever-present refuge and help.