The problem with living for the moment

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We live in a culture that thrives on living for the moment. Dr. Timothy Jennings says this lifestyle has some serious flaws.

“Many people make decisions based on what feels most comfortable or least painful in the moment. Rather than making decisions based on what is objectively healthiest in the moment.”

Dr. Jennings says that while living for the moment often feels right, it really makes no sense on any level.

“For instance, if you had a broken leg and they were coming to set your leg, your reflex as their trying to set the bone is don’t touch it, don’t touch it, because you know it’s going to hurt and you don’t want to hurt. Even though your reflex is to have them not touch it, you know that you have to let them or you’ll never get well.”

We do something very similar with our emotional wounds, we don’t want anyone to touch them, not even ourselves. Living for the moment perpetuates the emotional wounds that many of us carry.

“Sadly, many people stay there and they make decisions in real time to do what hurts the least right now and this only perpetuates the problem and makes it worse and worse over time.”

So how do we combat living in the moment?

“We have to learn to step back and say, okay, what’s the truth? What’s actually objectively healthy, in harmony with God’s design, and in harmony with how life actually works? What action do I need to take to get well, not just feel good right now?

Another way we try to live in the moment is by always wondering what other people think of us.

“You’d be surprised how many patients I see that actually live in that misery, always worrying about what other people will think of them, instead of focusing on their responsibility.”

Are we responsible for what others think of us?

“We’re responsible for the decisions we make in governance of ourselves. We are not responsible for what other people think and feel about those decisions. We want to do what’s right, healthy, reasonable, and in harmony with God’s plan in the most gracious and loving way we know how.”

Jennings points out that even Jesus, who did everything perfectly, couldn’t please everyone. If we seek to please people in our imperfection we are fighting a losing battle and we are living for the moment.


Timothy R. Jennings, MD, is a board certified Christian psychiatrist, master psychopharmacologist, lecturer, international speaker and author. He also serves on the board of the Southern Psychiatric Association and is in private practice in Tennessee.

Key Scripture: 2 Corinthians 10:5

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