Journaling Through Adversity

photo credit: gfpeck via photopin cc


If God asks that you bend, bend and do not complain. He is making you more flexible, and for this be thankful. ~Terri Guillemets



Today, I am extending an invitation of sorts. A few moments with your pen, paper and quietness as it finds you. Grab your journal, scrap paper or whatever is available.

Reflect with me on the topic below and see where you are led in your reflective writing, or pondering.

I’m not grading or collecting homework, so relax.

My main topics for reflection and journal writing today are adversity, ruts, and the proverbial sucker punch (in LIFE, of course- unless you have actually been sucker punched in the gut for real).

First a few brief definitions to get you stewing:

*Adversity: a difficult situation or condition : misfortune or tragedy.

*Rut: A habit or pattern of behavior that has become dull and unproductive but is hard to change.

*Sucker Punch: to punch (a person) suddenly without warning and often without apparent provocation.

Are you facing any trials? Adversity wearing you down? Well for just $9. 99 you can have your  trials, adversities and all difficulties removed. But wait- there’s MORE! Um, OK, no. Just kidding.

What I really want to say is, let’s take it to our journals.

I know I am not alone in battling discouragement, trying to stay positive through the bombardment of negative assaults daily and dealing with life’s unexpected difficulties.

I can’t be the only one who feels like buying a one way ticket to Australia with Alexander. It’s not just me having a “Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day”…for like, the past year, or two…or ten, right?

Right now, you are thinking, “Dawn, you’re depressing me, what is the point?”

Good question.

Are you ready to have a journal session to break out of this rut, accept the adversity, and come back swinging in this fight for life? What say ye? I love the quote by Mother Theresa that states she knows God won’t give her more than she can handle, just that she wished He didn’t trust her so much. Well I am no Mother Theresa, but I do sometimes wonder what God is thinking.

Do you? Do you wonder beyond the pat answers casually thrown your way?

Or maybe there’s a rut you’re in, and you want to get out, but you feel stuck, and that you’ve failed too many times. Let’s journal it out, purge ourselves on paper, and make way for some fresh solutions and ideas to get ourselves unstuck!

Maybe you feel stuck spiritually, or with your health, career or marriage. Perhaps you are having trouble with a loved one or boss. Grab your journal, or if you want to really be brave but are afraid of what you might write, get paper and give yourself permission to destroy the papers after you have purged. I save all my writing, but do what feels right to you.

OR maybe you just would like some writing inspiration. I challenge you to look back on your life and consider the trials you’ve been through, write about one of them or write about the lessons you’ve learned through them. Focus on one specific trial, or an overriding them, or victory.

Consider yourself before the trial and after. What was different, circumstantially, emotionally, spiritually? What did you learn? How did you grow, mature?

Now here are some quotes to ponder as you prepare to write: 

There are defeats more triumphant than victories.
~ Michel de Montaigne

Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.
~ Winston Churchill

“When a poet digs himself into a hole, he doesn’t climb out. He digs deeper, enjoys the scenery, and comes out the other side enlightened.”
― Criss Jami

Adversity is like a strong wind. It tears away from us all but the things that cannot be torn, so that we see ourselves as we really are. ~Arthur Golden

We turn to God for help when our foundations are shaking, only to learn that it is God who is shaking them. ~Charles C. West

The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem. ~Theodore Rubin

There is no education like adversity. ~Disraeli

Life is made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles predominating. ~O. Henry

What a pity human beings can’t exchange problems. Everyone knows exactly how to solve the other fellow’s. ~Olin Miller

Better to lose count while naming your blessings than to lose your blessings to counting your troubles. ~Maltbie D. Babcock

If God asks that you bend, bend and do not complain. He is making you more flexible, and for this be thankful. ~Terri Guillemets

When written in Chinese the word “crisis” is composed of two characters — one represents danger and the other represents opportunity. ~John F. Kennedy

In my opinion, there  is nothing worse than a philosophy that teaches a doctrine of  life that is free of suffering and struggle. That we are owed anything is a great distortion that permeates our times. That seeking freedom from difficulty is our calling, our destiny. These are dangerous times indeed. But, I digress…

Life is hard. But that ain’t all.

Roll up your sleeves, friends and write. But be not deceived, we have been all born into adversity. As Job fairly states, “For man is born for trouble, As sparks fly upward.”

If not, what then would we write about?


Like a plant that starts up in showers and sunshine and does not know which has best helped it to grow, it is difficult to say whether the hard things or the pleasant things did me the most good. ~Lucy Larcom


I would love to know if you respond to this post through journal writing or blogging. Or if you share it! Please let me know in the comments or via e-mail. If you believe this exercise/article is inspiring in any way, I would appreciate you sharing it through your favorite Social Media Platform. Thanks so much! 


*I wrote this article 3 years ago and published as Got Trials, Write On. I have shared it at local journaling workshops.

Published by enthusiasticallydawn

Dawn Paoletta is the author of Journaling for Discovery and Delight. Her writing is included in several anthologies and her poems have been included in the Wickford Poetry and Art Exhibit and Books. Dawn is currently working on her next book. Inquiries at

9 thoughts on “Journaling Through Adversity

  1. Just found it, and yes, I’m going to journal about the quote: “We turn to God for help when our foundations are shaking, only to learn that it is God who is shaking them.” ~Charles C. West. I’ve actually been journaling daily for the past 7 years, and off and on since I was 10 years old. It’s a wonderful way to evaluate our circumstances and emotions, putting them into perspective with the bigger picture that only God can see.


  2. This helps me so much Dawn you have no idea. I was just thinking before I sat down I am in a slump and can’t really get joy in blogging or doing my happy planner or business ideas or journaling because of all we are going through lately ( you know what all it is) I gotta find the balance and as you said take it out on paper really rather than just not do anything and stay in that slump. So timely this post. Thank you for your encouraging wise words. I will be sharing in my main twitter account suziesview. For some reason my new business one came on in here but I tried a few times to sign in with my main Twitter that has the most followers at SuziesView. Iwill make sure I share there. (hugs) Now I am going to go follow your advise!


  3. I definitely journal through adversity. It’s a tangible way to see how God is working when I go back and read my journals. I shared the post on my FB and pinned it to my Art/Bible Journaling board on Pinterest.


  4. Adversity is how God teaches us to endure, to stay the course, to earn that “well done!” at the end and it is a growing process for us. Each time we are faithful, we learn something and grow closer to the Lord.


  5. It’s been seemingly forever since I visited your blog, Dawn. I normally am not in a rut, unless I have created days and days and days of art without letting up. That’s when I know I need a rest. I need my mind to think of things other than what I’ve been working on.

    I don’t like to journal because I can’t grip a pencil or pen, but I love to write, my blog being my outlet.

    Ironically, I saw a movie last night about a woman (true story) who murdered everyone who stood in her way in 19th Century England. She was eventually hanged after killing somewhere between 13 and 22 people. She was talking to her stepfather in the graveyard (she was bold enough to attend all the funerals of people she poisoned) who said “God won’t give you more than you can handle (obviously quoted by Mother Theresa).” The woman turned to him and said “Then He is as much a fool as you.” I thought that showed her true character. So glad you reposted this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OH, my! So good to see you here! Thank your for your visit! What movie were you mentioning, that sounds bizarre and interesting! It has been awhile since I have visited you as well…and you inspired me to start my first altered book…which was a failure…or a learning experience! It was not your fault- you inspired me- but I did not really follow any instructions but just looked and tried to wing it! Anyway, I loved that mess I made…and it gave me courage to try again… Anyway, Love to you and Bluebeard!


  6. $9.99 is a bargain, I’m sending my money 😉 I wrote down my adversity (ulcerative colitis) in my journal as a prayer…for complete healing and/or patience and perseverance. Thanks, Dawn.

    Liked by 1 person

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