World in crisis: here’s how you can respond – pt. 1

What is going on in the world? Viruses and pandemics. Political standoffs and limitations of people’s freedoms and rights. Information overload and confusion. Conspiracies, some completely ridiculous, others gaining political and media credentials.

The world was already a messy place, but it seems only to get messier. It’s a pretty scary place if you don’t understand its workings. How institutions work or decisions are made? How biology works and infectious diseases spread? Who to trust, who’s got credibility?

It’s even scarier when our livelihoods are affected. How do we provide for our family? How do I pay my rent, or my mortgage? They’ve cut my income, my hours, my job!

How do we act? Do we react? Do we just let it happen? Or can we do something about it? Something that will make a positive change. Something that will help turn the tide.

There are different ways to act; some are better than others. Some are easier, but may not give the best results. It’s your choice.

What not to do: Hide. (Photo by Min An on

1. What not to do: Hide (like in ‘under a rock’)

The world is going through a major storm. What do we do in a storm: we hide. Wrong!

People often confuse hiding with sheltering. However, hiding is withdrawing from the world. From the elements raging around, but also from those that can do something about it.

Sheltering has a more broader open meaning. When you find shelter, you’re more proactive. You’re more open to what’s going on in the world, but can also choose who, or what, to let in and what to leave out.

Hiding is like curling up in a dark corner of the room, hoping that no-one will see you. Hiding is like leaving everything and everyone to their devices.

This will result in losing control over your own surroundings. Instead of making your own choices, they are made for you. It will actually increase your fear, your anxiety.

How to battle anxiety, you can read more here.

What to do instead: Shelter (especially in community)

When you try to find shelter, you’re aware of your surroundings and you’re trying to do something about it. Instead of hiding from the world, you find or build a structure that will help you face it.

This structure can protect you, or maybe even defend you. It gives you space to breathe, to recoup and to find yourself again.

It also helps you to find others. To welcome others in, in your shelter is probably the greatest value of sheltering over hiding. A safe space where you don’t have to be alone, where together you can withstand the storm.

Where do we find shelter?

It could be a physical space, like a house in a storm, or a strong building like a church or a school.

It could also be an organizational structure, like a trust or a foundation. A legal and financial protection in times of political and financial turmoil.

The most valuable shelter, however, is community. The best place where you can be yourself and develop yourself freely, is in a place where you know others have your back. Remember, if you don’t let others in your shelter at all, you’re just hiding in plain sight.

When you let others in, or they let you in, you find a space where you won’t just be able to survive, but breathe without fear, and maybe even thrive.

Community: when you let others in, you find a space where you won’t just be able to survive, but breathe without fear, and even thrive.

You don’t have to have the same ideas, or agree on everything. Community is about sharing values, especially viewing each other as valuable. It is about sharing life, sharing time, sharing experiences, and maybe even sharing food.

Go and shelter. Find your community who you can share with.

Read the next step of how to respond in a world in crisis – Coming Soon

Here’s what you can also do to improve your world: Become an encourager! Read all about it in my latest book:

Unexpected: Five Inspirational Short Stories of Encouragement

Be inspired. Be encouraged. Become an encourager.

See also

Battling Anxiety: How to Fight Back – 1

2 thoughts on “World in crisis: here’s how you can respond – pt. 1

  1. Pingback: World in crisis: here’s how you can respond – pt. 2 | Jozua van Otterloo

  2. Pingback: Battling Anxiety: How to Fight Back – 3 | Jozua van Otterloo

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