I struggle with an extreme case of “I Only” Syndrome. These are a few of the causes:
- I am only taking 14 credit hours this semester. Some elementary education majors take 21 hours.
- I only work 19 hours per week. Some students work over 30 hours.
- I only sing in the choir and help serve Wednesday night meals. Some girls teach Sunday School.
- I only made a 90 on that quiz. Some classmates made a 100.
- I only watched Chopped and took a nap on Monday afternoon. Some dorm residents wrote research papers.
- I only blog when I feel like it. Some bloggers consistently post five times a week.
The symptoms of “I Only” Syndrome are feelings of guilt and inadequacy.
“I Only” Syndrome is rooted in a constant need to be “good enough” in comparison to peers. Some believe that they need to be “good enough” to go to heaven (but salvation is only found by grace through faith). Others are trying to earn love, acceptance, popularity,and prestige with their “good enough” actions. Some (myself included) just want to prove to the world that they are “good enough” in every aspect of life.
There is no one who does good, not even one.
Here is the truth: I will never be “good enough.” Even if I demolish the causes of “I Only” Syndrome, even if I become the person who takes 21 credit hours, works 30 hours a week, teaches Sunday School, makes a 100 on every exam, writes research papers, and posts a new blog every day, I will not be “good enough” to merit any sort of eternal reward.
As we read through the Gospels, we see that Jesus did not think anyone was “good enough.” He did not wave at the spiritual leaders and say, “You’re doing a great job of being ‘good enough!’ You don’t need me around!” Instead, he said that even if someone was more obedient than a pharisee, that person would not be “good enough” (Matthew 5:20).
God does not want me to be “good enough.” He wants a broken and contrite heart (Psalm 51:17b.