It can be a real mental struggle to stop thinking about someone you like. When a relationship never occurred with someone that you really liked or a relationship ended that you really enjoyed, it is natural to grieve and think about it for a while.
Most of the time we know we need to move on but still find it difficult to stop thinking about this person. Even in our prayers our minds wonder and this person pops into our mental images. Is this God speaking? Does God want you to keep praying for this person? Are your continued thoughts about your ex a sign from God that he does want you two together and this person is “the one” for you?
Here are three Christian tips if you want to stop thinking about your ex or someone that you liked. I have another article and video for how to move on and recover emotionally, Christian Advice: How to Get Over Someone and Move On. In this article, however, I’m just going to be focusing on the mental side of moving on.
If You Want to Stop Thinking About Someone, Look at the Facts, Not Your Feelings
When it comes to knowing the future and who God might lead us to be with, we are pretty powerless to know these things. I believe God can tell you something about your future, but I don’t believe this is a normal practice of God. I think it is more common that we hear what we want God to say when we hear him say something about our futures. Additionally, the only biblical way to know if God has truly revealed something about your future is to wait and see if it happens. If it never happens God did not tell you that.
Therefore I don’t believe it is very wise or biblical to spend much time wondering if your feelings and thoughts about someone are a sign that God wants you to be with this person. If you are thinking a lot about your ex or someone you like, this is not a sign from God that he wants you with him or her. (For more on this, read or watch How to Interpret Dreams and Prophesies about Dating and Your Future Marriage.)
Rather than focusing on your internal world so much and the thoughts running through your own head about this person you like, God wants us to look at the facts of real life and live in reality. Most of the time God speaks through our circumstances and lets us know all the we need to know about the present through what’s happening in real life.
If someone said they don’t like you, if they broke up with you, or if someone is not returning your phone calls, it’s fine to think about these things for a while and let your feelings run their course. But if you want to stop thinking about someone and move on, you must focus more on the facts of real life and less on the feelings and thoughts in your head.
The word here is “Acceptance.” You have to accept the facts. If you are never willing to look at the evidence that this relationship was not meant to be and you just continue to cling to the hopes inside your head, you will always be stuck thinking about that person in your past. When you can accept the reality of the situation without injecting your own wishes about the future, you are then better able to move on and stop thinking about someone you liked.
Pray for Them for a Season, but Then Stop Praying for Them
Prayer is immensely healing. When you lose a relationship with someone, it can be a very helpful practice to pray for that person. If you were wronged and someone sinned against you, it can be a huge step of maturity to pray for that person who hurt you (Matthew 5:44). It’s even right to pray about God changing the circumstance and bringing you into a relationship with someone if you think they would be a godly spouse.
But after a while I believe we need to stop praying about things and move on with God. When we cling to someone in our prayers we can be stunting our growth. You cannot pray too much, but you can pray too much about a certain thing. In my article “Can You Pray Too Much?” I unpack this topic in much greater detail, but within that article I discuss how we can pray with wrong motives, we can pray about our idols, and we can pray in a way that hinders our forward movement and encourages passive waiting.
You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” (James 4:3)
“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words.” (Matthew 6:7)
If You Want to Stop Thinking About Someone, Fill Your Mind With Other Things and Pursue a New Godly Relationship
Usually we cannot stop thinking of someone because there is no one else around to think about. This person you keep thinking about symbolizes what you want. He is the only man in your life right now or was the most recent relationship you had, therefore your mind thinks of him. Your mind focuses on the last thing that you experienced. If the last relationship experience you had was with this certain person, odds are your relationship thoughts will include this person because there is no one to replace this person in your mind.
Psychologically it is the wrong approach to try to just not think of him. If I tell you not to think of white elephants you will think about white elephants even more. The harder we try to not think about someone the more likely it is we think about this person because “not thinking” is not a thing. You can never not think, you can only think about other things.
Your mind is always working so you cannot just try to turn your mind off. The way to remove thoughts is to fill your mind with other thoughts. Thinking is like breathing. You must do it. If you stop breathing, this means you are dead. If you stop thinking, this means the same thing. Thinking is a must.
The way you stop breathing in smoke is not by stopping all breathing. Rather, the way you stop breathing smoke is by starting to breathe fresh air. Likewise, you will not stop thinking about someone by trying to just “not think.” The solution is to think about other things. Jesus said:
When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, but finds none. 44 Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house empty, swept, and put in order. 45 Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there, and the last state of that person is worse than the first. (Matthew 12:43-45)
Notice that the demons were able to return because the house was empty. When the Holy Spirit enters into someone demons cannot also live there because God is occupying that house (2 Corinthians 3:17). Likewise, the Bible instructs us not to just remove evil thoughts but to remove evil thoughts and fill our minds with good thoughts, “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth” (Colossians 3:2). Notice the Bible tells us to fill our minds with heavenly thoughts as a way of removing earthly thoughts. Romans 12:21 states, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
When it comes to relationships and stopping the thoughts about your ex or someone you like but cannot be with, sometimes the way to move on is by continuing your search for a relationship but with another person. If God has put a desire on your heart for a godly relationship, you will always think of that person in your past until you move on and are willing to look for someone new.
In other words, you will stop focusing on this guy when you start looking for another godly man to date and possibly marry. You don’t even have to actually start being with someone else. If you are just willing to move on and are ready to actually pursue a different relationship if God wills it, this will lead you to change your thinking about this person in your past.
To stop thinking about your past, you must stop living in your past. If God brings you into a new relationship I can almost guarantee you will stop thinking about this guy or girl in you past so much.
How to Stop Thinking About Someone
As Christians, we are called to control our thoughts and submit our minds to God. It is healthy to grieve and think about your ex or someone you like for a period of time, but eventually you must move on.
You will move on and stop thinking about this person when you start focusing more on the facts rather than your feelings, when you move on in your prayer life with God, and when you fill your mind with other things that are glorifying to God.
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