Sometimes hospitality requires more courage than we think we possess. Maybe you could raise your hand and say, “Yes, I could use a dose of more courage.”

I’ve often shied away from courage, because I knew that it could be disruptive to my life; that it would knock me out of my safety zone. To be honest, I really like comfort.

5 signs you’re in a “safety zone”:

1. You haven’t had people in your home for at least six months.
2. You worry too much about the appearance of your house.
3. You haven’t forged a new friendship in a year.
4. You’ve become obsessed with your family’s problems.
5. You haven’t tried a new recipe in months; your cooking is in a rut.

Sometimes we love safety so much that it stifles us. And when we’re stifled, we don’t grow beyond a certain point, which means we miss out on many of life’s blessings. Hospitality is one of those life blessings.

I’ve learned more about courage as I matured and started emulating courageous people I admired. I realized some unhealthy patterns that weren’t working in my life, and that I had some unhealthy relationships that always fostered negative conversations. I learned to be more courageous by pushing past my fears.

One of my acts of courage was to start my blog, Reluctant Entertainer, almost five years ago, and to become real and authentic with readers about my entertaining philosophy.

Gaining more courage helps you to love more. In my book, The Reluctant Entertainer, I provide ten key points for helping others to open up and share their lives with others:

10 steps to courageous hospitality

1. Know that you are valuable and important to God, and made in His image.
2. Know that you are unique and that people want to know you more.
3. Focus your will onto something meaningful (relationships!).
4. Lean into your fears; learn that things do not have to be perfect.
5. Learn that people usually don’t care about the things that bother you.
6. Learn to take a small hill. Start small and invite people into your life.
7. Make soul-friends, friends who get what you are all about.
8. Love the unlovely. Does it really matter what your house looks like?
9. Combat materialism. You don’t need the newest or the best.
10. Fight cynicism, which can drain us of hope, creativity, and energy — all building blocks for courage.

Gaining courage will help you put fears, worries, and imperfections aside, and you’ll be able to love more deeply.

I’ve learned that courage doesn’t just come to you. It takes effort and willingness, and it often puts you at risk. A few weeks ago when we had a brand new couple into our home, we took the risk that they’d want to get to know us, to come into our home, and share an evening with us.

We knew we were interested in pursuing a friendship with them, but you just never know what another person’s reaction will be. We’re so glad they said yes. Our lives are richer now that we’ve connected with these people. They actually ended up providing encouragement to us in ways we never dreamed.

When is the last time you took a risk and invited someone new into your home?