Receiving one's patriarchal blessing often carries with it great anticipation and great expectations. Will the blessing mention the things we've always dreamed of having in our lives? And what if it doesn't? As a young girl, Makenna Myler's life revolved around running so when she received her patriarchal blessing, she expected it to talk about the role running would play in her life moving forward. When it didn't, she was confused and, for years after, she wrestled over whether she should be running or not.
On this week's All In podcast, Myler explains how it took years to fully understand God's plan for her but when it finally came together, it still included running. Instead of what she'd imagined—running in the Olympics—it was a viral video of her running a 5 minute, 25 second mile just 10 days before giving birth that took the internet by storm and gave her the chance to be an example.
The following excerpt has been edited for clarity.
Morgan Jones: Makenna, when you and I talked before this interview, you mentioned that you feel like you had a little bit of a wrestle with God as it relates to even pursuing running. And I'm not sure, do you mean as a mom pursuing running? Tell me a little bit more about that.
Makenna Myler: Yeah. So this kind of goes back to my origins of running. . . . So in the Church, we have these patriarchal blessings. And you don't really share what's in your patriarchal blessing. They're very sacred and personal to you. When I got my patriarchal blessing, I thought for sure it would say something big about my destiny, like I'm [going to] be able to change the world with running. And it said nothing about that, and that really confused me. I didn't quite understand why God didn't have running in the plans for me, is what it seemed like.
And as I continued on, other [athletes] mentioned that running was in their patriarchal blessing. And I was like, "What? Oh, maybe I'm not supposed to be running. Why am I . . . investing so much time in this?" And then also, while I was investing all this time into running, I wasn't super great. Like I wasn't, you know, this, "Oh, she's for sure going to the Olympics. She's for sure going on [the] Olympic team." I wasn't even supposed to be like an All-American in college. It was very much like, "She's good. But there's no destiny that you're supposed to be this amazing runner."
And I continued to pray about that with God. And being like, "I want to be an example. I feel this need. And I feel this, like, what's the word? Void, I guess, that I am filling with running. And I don't understand why I'm continuing to put in all this effort and all these hours." Because like I said, I wasn't very talented, I was putting in a ton of hours, like a lot more mileage than most runners. And I still just wasn't super great. And I didn't understand. Sorry, I'm not [going to] cry. I didn't understand, I was like, "Why am I continuing to sacrifice all these days?" When I say sacrifice, we'd go on vacation and I was the one getting up at 6:00 a.m. to go running. And then before dinner, I would do my second run. And just constantly feeling like, "This is something I need to continue to pursue," but the results weren't showing.
And so it's been like 10 or 11 years of that wrestle with God, like, maybe I should just be done. Like, what is the point? And I think I kind of bartered, in that I was constantly being like, "I want to help. I want to influence people. I know I connect with people while I'm running." And like, "How can this happen?" And it was really cool because when that pregnant mile went viral, I told my mom, I was like, "This is so interesting because who would have thought God's plan is so different than what you think it's going to be?" And it's like, who would have thought that? You know, in my mind, the faster you were, the more people listen to you, right? Because if you're credible, the more you can help people. And I thought that the only way to do that is to go to the Olympics to be on a national and world level. And when that mile happened and that video went viral, and people wanted to talk to me about it, I just thought, "God's plan is different than you think it's going to be." And how He knew that that would happen. And that's how I ended up being able to connect with even more people than you know I ever would have in my own little circle.
Morgan Jones: That's such a good story. And it's funny, I felt like on a really small scale, I had a similar experience where my dream has always been to write a book. And hosting a podcast? I didn't even know what a podcast was when I was first approached about doing it. And I kind of thought, "Oh, you know, I'll never get to write a book." And then I got to write a book about the podcast, which never would have happened. It's just funny the way that God works. And like you said, He works in ways we don't even see coming. And we can't even see how He's working in the story. But He is working all along. And I think He's very aware of what our dreams are.
And sometimes I think with patriarchal blessings, it's such an interesting thing, because we want it to say certain things. I think God knows what we want. And so I think sometimes it's like He wants what we want. Those are not the things He needs to tell us. That's just me talking, but that's what I've always thought about that.
Makenna Myler: Yeah, He just connects the dots differently than you would, right? And then also, what you're saying about the patriarchal blessing, is I learned that you get to take action into your own hands, like you decide what you want to do with your life. He is not going to tell you, and that was a big switch for me. . . . Like wait, I get to create what I want.
Morgan Jones: Well, and I think a patriarchal blessing is not a fortune telling, you know? It was meant to help us recognize the things that maybe we haven't considered, or the things that God needs us to know that maybe we wouldn't figure out on our own.