4 Reasons God Is Allowing Someone’s Image to Be Stuck in Your Brain

Romans 8:6

Here are 4 possible reasons for why God has allowed an image of someone to get stuck in your brain.

1. You Have Committed Prolonged Idolatry and Formed a Mental Pattern of Thinking About This Person

God allows us to think about what we want to think about, but there are always consequences to the good and bad choices we make. One consequence of prolonged idolatry of someone is they will get burned into your mental habits. Mental habits are just like any other habit. They start out as a choice but then they morph into a subconscious behavior done automatically without active choice.

For example, when you get a new job, you really have to think about how to drive there because the route is unfamiliar to you. But when you have driven to work every day for five years in a row, it’s possible you will get into your car at home and then appear at work and have almost no recollection of how you arrived there because you were literally driving on autopilot in your brain because this has become such a daily habit for you.

This same thing can happen in our thoughts about people. If you choose to think about someone long enough, it will become your new mental habit you do automatically. The way to change this is to start forming new mental habits by making new choices. Just like your bad mental habits, good mental habits will start with choice but then they will become automatic once you have made the right mental choice over and over again.

As Romans 12:2 (NIV) states, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Consistent worldly thinking leads to worldly mental patterns. But when we renew our minds and actively work to think about better things through God’s grace, our minds will be transformed so we can follow the will of the Lord.

2. You Allowed Your Identity to Get Attached to This Person’s Opinion of You

No one can live without an identity. From our earliest thoughts, we are all asking, “Who am I?”

We start by identifying with our favorite superheroes or our favorite characters in a story. We then start identifying with what we do, “I’m a soccer player” or “I’m a gymnast” or “I’m a musician.” And then we start finding our identity in other people, “I’m single,” “I’m Sara’s boyfriend,” “I’m Michael’s girlfriend,” “I’m Sara’s ex-boyfriend” or I’m Michael’s ex-girlfriend.” When we lose our identity in someone, we will either feel lost or we will begin searching for someone new to tell us who we are.

The only solution to this is to find our identity in the only person who will never change, Jesus Christ. When you try to find your identity in what someone thinks of you, you will always be unstable and self-conscious because people’s opinions and feelings are always changing.

Sure, it feels great when someone thinks we are special. But eventually that person will see our flaws, they will get disappointed with us, or they may just leave one day for an unexplainable reason. We are then left with a confused and lost identity. When you find your identity in Christ, however, you will always be stable because Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).

You will think about the person who you believe defines you. When you know that Christ alone is the one who has the right to give you your identity, you will stop focusing so much on other people and your mind will be fixed on Christ.

As Colossians 3:2-3 explains, “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”

3. You Have Imprinted on This Person Through a Sexual Experience

Our memories are directly linked to our experiences.

Do you remember that time you went to the grocery store three years ago and nothing happened other than that you bought what you needed and left? Of course not! You don’t remember because that was not a memorable experience. However, would you remember going the grocery store three years ago if during your time there it was robbed and you had to run for your life? Of course you would because that would be a very extreme experience!

This is why sexual experiences are so powerfully influential on our memories. Sexual pleasure creates an extreme experience that is unlike any other part of life. So if you have had a sexual experience with someone, it is very likely their image will get imprinted on your brain because you experienced something so intense with them. Even if you didn’t have sex with them but you lusted after them in your mind, this too can cause them to get imprinted on your brain.

This is one of the reasons God tells us to only have sexual experiences in marriage. He knows that sex is so powerful that it should only be done with someone you are planning on being with for the rest of your life. Any sexual experience outside of the confines of marriage is sin. If you have someone’s image imprinted on your brain because of sexual sin, your only solution is Christ. Only the blood of Jesus can wipe away your sin (1 John 1:9), and only the power of the Holy Spirit can renew your mind (Romans 8:6).

You must repent by turning from these past sexual sins. When you turn to Christ, the Holy Spirit sets you free and transforms you into God’s image. As 2 Corinthians 3:17-18 proclaims:

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”

4. You Have Unfinished Business with This Person

Points 1-3 of this article were basically negative reasons for why someone’s image might be stuck in your brain. But we also need to address the possibility that there is some positive reason God is allowing this too. Don’t instantly jump to this conclusion as the other three points are far more likely, but it’s also possible God is allowing you to think about this person so much because there is an action he wants you to take.

If you are a man, perhaps God is leading you to pursue this woman you can’t stop thinking about. If you are a woman, perhaps God is leading you to be more inviting towards this man who’s image you can’t seem to forget. Or perhaps something happened between you two that was sinful and God is reminding you of this person so you can ask for forgiveness (Matthew 5:23-24), and then perhaps God will let you move on.

The possibilities are endless. The only impossible thing is that God wants you to just endlessly think about someone without ever taking any action to stop these thoughts. Either God is trying to help you change your mental habits like we talked about in points 1-3, or God is telling you to action in your life liked we talked about in point 4. Pray for wisdom, but don’t let yourself get stuck wasting your life just thinking about someone.

As 1 Peter 1:13 states, “Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”