From a single Christian woman:
I think this situation happened because from a young age (very young) I’ve had a habit of going off into a fantasy land in my mind, and when I hit puberty, it became focused on the opposite sex.
Instead of forming healthy relationships (with the risks that come with them) I took the easier route of simply building up a world around whoever I was attracted to in my mind.
Also obsessing over the things they said and did, and trying to find meaning in it, did this/that mean they liked me? This would go on for hours during the day, and months and sometimes years. It was like they took over my head.
I realise now that this mental habit must stop, that I must guard my mind and not let a man get into my head who shouldn’t be there, married or single. That I must employ my considerable mental powers (God gave me a good mind and a powerful imagination) for better things. Up until this last week I used to lie awake in the mornings for over an hour, getting up late, thinking about this (unavailable) man, sometimes sexually, other times just going over and over the things that happened, trying to process the feelings of rejection. This will no longer be happening. This will STOP.
Another reason these thinking patterns must stop is because it is draining my energy physically. I’m awaiting the results of a test for adrenal fatigue (cortisol) because I recently recognised signs of burnout, which has been slowly coming on for the last year. This is a terribly destructive habit I’m determined to overcome, whether I experience any more attractions or not.
I asked myself, where does your mind go when you’re not obsessing over some man? By default almost, it keeps going back to spiritual things. I think Satan has used this to distract me from things I really need to keep thinking about. I think if I just begin to think about how excellent Jesus is, daily, (as I’ve begun to do ) compared to any person on earth, I will be well on the way to returning to Him.
It’s like obsessing with men has kept winning out over Jesus, but ultimately it’s been nothing but emptiness.
MY BIG FIRST CRUSH
I can SO relate to this! I remember when I was 12 – I had the BIGGEST crush on a boy in our youth group. He talked to me for about an hour at my first youth group event – a pool party. My hormones had just kicked in. He was so handsome. And his smile made my heart melt. That was such a special evening – he gave me tons of attention. My heart raced. I was in love! Or – maybe more accurately, infatuated! He hardly spoke to me after that. But I had this HUGE fantasy in my head of who he must be. I was smitten with him for 1 year to the day. I could see him walk to lunch at my school when I was in biology class. I knew what time he walked to lunch. I watched and watched for him every day. I was SO EXCITED if I got to see him walk to lunch!!!!!!!!! And I quizzed my twin sister every day to tell me how many times she saw him in the hallways. He was in 8th grade, we were only in 7th. I prayed and prayed that God would let me marry that boy.
He got in trouble at home a lot and seemed to be grounded a lot. I assumed his parents must be really strict. Finally, a year after I started obsessing about this guy, he asked a girl in our youth group to ask me to go steady. What!?!?!?! He wouldn’t even ask me himself? Suddenly – the bubble burst. The dream died. I snapped back into reality and realized, “I don’t want a guy who can’t even talk to me!”
Unfortunately, this guy ended up in trouble with the law later. Big trouble.
Now – I THANK GOD that He said “No” to my 12 year old starry eyed dreams of that boy. I never even really knew him. It was all fantasy.
The next year, God moved my family to South Carolina – and a year after that, I met Greg! I thank God every day for saying “Yes” to this dream!
A GROWN UP INFATUATION
Unfortunately, I allowed myself to become infatuated with a guy who I met at work when Greg and I had been married about 2 years. This was back when I thought men and women could be close platonic friends. I don’t think that anymore! I was so naive, trusting and gullible. 🙁 But it was the same fantasy at work when I was older. I allowed myself to indulge in fantasies of “what if I was married to this other man? I bet he would do X, Y and Z for me. He would care about my needs, unlike my husband. I wonder what it would be like to be on vacation with him? I wonder what it would be like to be with someone so charming and magnetic? He gives me compliments every day. My husband doesn’t do that. He seems to understand me so well. He says he is just my friend, and he’s not a threat to my marriage.”
I told my husband every word this guy said to me. I WANTED Greg to say, “Don’t talk to him anymore.” He never said anything. So, I decided it must not be too big of a deal. BIG MISTAKE.
Later, this magnetic, charming, flattering guy began to become controlling. He started trying to control how I wore my hair and what clothes I wore and who I could talk to. I never actually had a physical affair with him. Only by the grace of God. But my mind went way over the line. It was PURE SIN.
I’m so thankful – he started dating another girl. Whew! The pressure was off of me. I am forever thankful that God intervened. That could have been a total disaster.
It is EASY to fall over the edge of the cliff when you are leaning way over the side.
I am not above any sin. If I am far enough from God and from accountability – on my own, I am a wretched sinner. I am in desperate need of Christ every moment.
Sin begins in the heart, in the mind – in the imagination. This is why it is so critical to take every thought captive for Christ.
I believe there are several ways to experience God’s victory over sinful fantasy. These are not rules. They are my suggestions to prayerfully consider:
- Don’t watch romantic movies, watch soap operas, watch romantic reality shows, read tabloids, read romantic novels or listen to love songs. This stuff is SERIOUS fodder for sinful thoughts, sinful fantasies, unrealistic expectations of real godly men, and it promotes sensuality and fleshly desires. This is what I personally do. It helps me “not be polluted” by the world. Even as a married woman, even if I am reading rated G stuff, it is easy to start letting unrealistic Hollywood expectations creep into my heart and then feel resentful that my husband doesn’t do what the romantic lead does. NOT WORTH IT! It is much healthier for me personally to just not let the junk into my mind and heart to start with. Then I focus on the good in my husband and don’t compare him to anyone else.
- Listen to Christian music. Read books about God. Check out Radical by David Platt. Listen to his sermons on www.radical.net or Youtube. Read John Piper’s sermons or listen to his sermons at www.desiringgod.org.
- Of course, avoid porn. Get software to keep yourself from accessing it if it is an issue. Covenant Eyes or something similar. Get a mature, godly accountability partner – who is female. If you have issues with porn, www.xxxchurch.com has some help available (I have read a few posts, it appears to be Christ and Bible centered. Please evaluate everything by God’s Word!). Here is a link to a free ebook for help for porn problems by a godly pastor/teacher/blogger I respect, Brent Riggs.
- Force yourself to stop the fantasies. Realize what you are doing. Stop the “movie” in your head. Focus on scripture or anything that fits the Philippians 4:8 test.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
- Have a godly mentoring woman/older wife who lives a Spirit-filled life and lives out God’s Word and ask her to be an accountability partner for you. Meet with her once a week or once every 2 weeks or email with her once a week or so. Email her or call her when you are feeling tempted to fantasize about a man.
- Stay in today. A lot of our problems could seriously be fixed if we would not zoom way ahead in our minds and imagine if this is “the one.” Let’s savor each moment of today. Let’s live in today. Let’s appreciate what a guy wants to offer us today without rushing, pressuring him or pushing for a quick commitment or trying to guarantee that he is going to propose by a certain time. Let’s live today. let’s trust the sovereignty of God for tomorrow.
- Don’t flirt with ungodly men or men who are unavailable. Don’t go there.
- Starve thoughts about sex and romance. Feed thoughts about Jesus and good things.
- Do not allow your mind to stray into sin. Watch your motives. Ask God to purify your motives. Ask Him to show you every sin and to convict you.
- Replace tempting thoughts with pure thoughts about Christ.
- Turn from every sinful thought (repent) and turn to Jesus. Ask Him for forgiveness and cleansing and ask Him to empower you to live in obedience and purity and chastity.
- Use your imagination to meditate on Jesus, who He is, His majesty, praise for Him, thanksgiving for Him, listening to His Spirit speaking to your heart.
- Allow disappointment to be your signal to make sure there are no idols in your heart that you cherish above Jesus. Let it remind you to tear out every idol and seek contentment and fulfillment in Christ alone.
- Stay in God’s Word daily. If possible 30 minutes to 1 hour or more – whatever time you believe God wants you to spend. Give Him real time in your day. Really feast on His Word and spend serious time in prayer making Him the greatest priority and focus of your life.
- Make no provision for the flesh. Plan not to be alone with men whenever possible.
- Don’t listen to ungodly conversations.
- Don’t randomly surf online without a plan about what you are looking for.
- Try to avoid private conversations with men who are married or who are not believers or who are carnal believers – lots of emotional sharing and intimacy can lead you to physical sin.
- Pray about what convictions God may want you to have about what kind of contact to have with men and what would most honor Him. Ask Him to show you how to guard your heart.
- If you are way too attracted to a man who is not a single, godly man – it may be wise to try to avoid contact with him and limit how much you talk with him. It may be wise to lay him on the altar in your heart and give him to God and decide not to follow your flesh. It is also wise to think about the heartache and destruction that sin would cause if you were to follow your flesh into such a mess. It may also be wise to realize that that man is a wretched sinner, just like we all are. He is not able to be Jesus to you. If he is not in Christ, his sin against you will probably be dramatically worse than if you were with a man who desires to love, submit to and honor Jesus. A spiritually dead man cannot love his wife like Jesus loves the church. It is not possible.
- Check to see that you are living in the power of God’s Spirit and to be sure you haven’t grieved God’s Spirit and are living in the power of the sinful nature. Galatians 5:19-26.
It is VERY EASY for romantic fantasy to turn into sin – in the mind, then in our words, then in our actions. Sin is a progression from thought to action.
It is VERY EASY for romantic fantasy to create unrealistic expectations in our real life relationships and to make us think that real godly men are “lacking” and “not enough” when the problem is our fantastical expectations sometimes, not the men.
It is VERY EASY for romantic fantasy to turn into an idol for us that we cherish above intimacy with Christ and that we are willing to sin to try to have. If we think we MUST HAVE romance by our definition to be content in life and that Christ alone is not enough – that is sin.
WHAT ABOUT YOU?
What issues do you have with obsessive thoughts and fantasies?
Is there anything you’d like to discuss?
I’m always glad to hear from you. 🙂