messages of note


Karl Beech

Because a fair amount of the time I’m speaking at different events, people only see me at a distance or I might only have a brief moment to chat with them. This leads to a phenomenon called ‘stereotyping’.
Let me explain… I speak with a Rom- ford/East End London accent. You know the score. Refined, well pronounced words etc. The more excited I get, the more Essex I become.

Further to this I have a physical build that resembles an Electrolux Fridge. In other words, I’m shaped like a rectangular box. Additionally, I have a naturally grumpy face. I’m filled with inner joy but outwardly I look like someone who is about to commit either a random act of unnecessary aggression or is just totally and utterly fed up with life, the universe and everything.

You could easily therefore assume, after just a fleeting glimpse in my direction, that I’ve stepped straight off the set of a Guy Ritchie gangster flick. However, that would be a mistake. While I do enjoy many typically masculine pursuits (I like weightlifting, motorbikes and bonfires amongst other things) I also enjoy things like history books, art, playing the piano, chess and vegetarian food.

I was pondering all this while fishing for tench on a hidden pond/lake near where I live. Situated in between a bunch of factories, you would never guess that it’s there. The first time I visited, I was astonished. You literally turn off the road, walk down a little path and there it is — a hidden beauty spot in the middle of a heavily industrial area. Surrounded by trees, it’s a beautiful 3.5 acre lake complete with swans and stuff (stuff being a technical term for a multitude of wildlife).

In many ways, the secret lake is a bit like me and so many of us blokes — hidden away from people who casually walk past us. l think this can lead to a lot of angst.

So this poses some questions: who are you really? Who are you when nobody is looking? Who are you when you’re alone with your thoughts? ls the real you the bloke people see when you’re down the pub or hanging out in the gym? And then, of course, there’s an even deeper question. Are you really — deep down — the man you know you ought to be? Only you know the answer to these questions, but let me tell you something I do know. If you don’t ask them you are in danger of either having a catastrophic crash or going through life disappointed. I’m happy for you to know the complexity in my life because I don’t feel a need to fulfil a stereotype. These days I’m mostly a man at peace.

The one thing that helped me to start to become the man I know I ought to be
and helped me to be almost consistently the same bloke when people see me or when people aren’t looking is my faith in Jesus Christ.

I’m not alone. I was talking recently to a former world champion power lifter. At one time he was a full-on steroid user. He took them in the belief that he needed to be a certain type of bloke and that with- out them he would be less strong and maybe even less of a man. They nearly cost him everything.

After meeting Jesus Christ he ditched the drugs and competed clean. Guess what? He still became a world champion, drug free, conscience clean and at peace with himself and his family (after nearly ending up divorced and bankrupt). Jesus made him a real man.

Have you got the guts to look in a mirror and ask the tough questions, or will
you stay hidden away? Take some time out and ask the questions… if anything it’s a good excuse to go fishing.



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