There is an old story told by Alcoholics Anonymous. A group of Twelve Step members was taking a boat ride to an island called Serenity, and it was a happy bunch of people. As the boat pulled away from the dock, a few on board noticed Mary running down the street trying to catch up with the boat. One member said, “Darn, she’s missing the boat.” Another said, “Maybe not. Come on, Mary! Jump in the water! Swim! Swim! You can make it! You can catch up with us!”
So Mary jumped into the water and started to swim for all she was worth. She swam for quite a while and then started to sink. The members on board, now all aware that Mary was struggling, shouted, “Come on, Mary! Don’t give up! Drop the rock!”
With that encouragement, Mary started swimming again, only to start sinking again shortly afterward. She was going under when she heard all those voices shouting to her, “Mary, drop the rock! Let go and drop the rock!”
Mary was vaguely aware of something around her neck, but she couldn’t quite figure out what it was. Once more, she gathered her strength and started swimming. She was doing quite well, even gaining a little on the boat, but then she felt this heaviness pulling her under again. She saw all those people on the boat holding out their hands and hollering for her to keep swimming and shouting, “Don’t be an idiot, Mary! Drop the rock!”
Then she understood when she was going down for the third time. This thing around her neck, this was why she kept sinking. So when she finally got tired of going under, of her inability to reach Serenity, she let go. She dropped the rock. And then she was free to reach the Serenity that had otherwise eluded her.
God has created for each of us a place called Serenity. But you, like the rest of us, have something you are holding onto. Whatever it is, you have to let it go. It is too heavy and you can’t possibly swim hard enough. In order to find Serenity, you have to drop the rock.