Tired of feeling like a doormat, like you attract people who just take from you with no regard or concern for your wellbeing?
Christians are often encouraged to give until it hurts. “Let people take advantage of you,” “Forbear under abuse,” that’s what Jesus would want us to do, right?
There’s some serious scripture twisting and misinterpretation going on when we believe that God created us to be a doormat for others.
Yes, we are to love and forgive and forbear—but it’s time to untwist some misconceived scriptures about what it means to set limits with others.
That’s why I want to show you the five signs that God is trying to show you it’s time to stop letting people walk all over you and start setting boundaries.
Sign #1: You’re afraid to set limits with others
It’s not uncommon for people pleasers to see limits as unloving. Add to that the uncomfortable feelings that you’re left with that you’re letting someone down, and it’s enough to make even a border patrol agent step back in fear.
The truth is, that your inability to set limits with others will not result in the reciprocation you long for.
I know you’re waiting for them to return the good deed, but it’s not going to happen.
Setting limits is less about the “how” and more about the “what”. After all, you already know how to say no. Go ahead, try it. Just say the word “no” for me right now.
See, it’s not how it’s what that’s the hard part, but we’ll talk about that in a few.
Sign #2: You feel responsible for other people’s thoughts and feelings
I understand that it feels loving to think and feel for others. But when consideration crosses into codependency, you have an unhealthy relationship dynamic.
Feeling responsible for others’ feelings takes the responsibility off of them and puts it onto you. And guess what kind of people this trait attracts? Takers!
There are plenty of irresponsible, lazy, immature people out there who would be more than happy to offload their personal responsibility onto you.
And if you see it as ‘loving’ to take that responsibility from them, you will be loaded down like a pack mule until you’re swayback.
And then wonder why you’re so tired and no one appreciates you.
Sign #3: You fail to make clear agreements
It may seem nice on the surface to always defer to another person for their input, but it makes it difficult to actually be in a healthy, interdependent relationship with someone who can’t make their own decisions.
God gave you unique desires, thoughts, perspectives, and preferences, all of which should contribute to a wonderful relationship dynamic.
The problem comes in when the other person doesn’t value what you bring to the table. Instead of letting that knock you back, let it be an indication of the potential problem in the relationship.
Just remember—having a problem in your relationship doesn’t mean that you ARE the problem.
Sign #4: You have no time for God
If I had a nickel for every time a people pleaser has defended why they don’t have time for God by saying they are too busy doing HIS work by serving others, I’d be a very rich woman.
Yes, we are called to serve others, but not at the expense of what God has entrusted you to steward. That includes your time, talent, and treasures.
Blaming others for taking your time doesn’t take you off the hook. It puts you on the hook for setting better boundaries.
It’s true that life can get busy and there are certainly times in life where finding time for God is difficult, but we should never use that as an excuse to put everyone else first and God last.
If you’re the type to always bend over backwards for people in need, what do you think the enemy is going to tempt you with to keep you away from God?
That’s right—people in ‘need.’
Sign #5: It’s obvious to everyone but you
Do you constantly have people telling you to not let so-and-so take advantage of you?
I realize that you think you’re just being a good person and maybe even feel like others just don’t get it.
But I want to ask you to pause for a moment and ponder whether they might be right.
It’s so easy for us to miss our own blind spots. Maybe it’s time you stop justifying your ‘good’ intentions and ask your trusted friend what she’s seeing. Then take that to the Lord and ask for help. Maybe even ask your friend for help.
People pleasing is no different than any other temptation we want to avoid, and we often need help to avoid it.
You may be wondering “What’s wrong with me?”
My friend, there’s nothing wrong with you. You’ve likely had your identity reshaped by a toxic caregiver who trained you to only feel good about yourself when they were pleased with you
But there is hope.
With God all things are possible and He can restore your identity in Christ and give authority to your NO.
When someone doesn’t take no for an answer, it’s likely because you have a pattern of backing down, especially if they’re upset with you or if you fear losing something in the relationship.
But no amount of love, attention, money or affection is worth having to sell a piece of yourself for. Stand your ground (in love) and your NO will now hold weight.
People need limits—some more than others—but you will never successfully set boundaries if you don’t know the basics. To learn biblical boundaries, watch this episode next.
And if you’ve ever wondered what type of people pleaser you are, go ahead and take the free quiz here.