FootballPete Carroll said, “This one didn’t work out right for us.”

Russell Wilson said, “One inch too far… I can use this for the future… It definitely hurts… I keep my head up… You can’t worry about it too much.”

For a month now, I’ve thought about the Seahawk’s Super Bowl loss to the New England Patriots. My husband Kurt had given me 24 hours to mope and then he’d said I’d need to be able to say, “It’s just a game. It’s just football.”

But is it?

More than once I’ve reflected back on post-game comments made by the coaches and players. At one point I asked, “What if you don’t have that same belief in the quarterback, his guys, the system?” An entire region of fans had responded in collective agony to that one inch. Hundreds of thousands had slumped in disbelief at what happened. I went on to say that words can sound very trite to a legion of followers who’d given their hearts to fifty-three guys daring a re-Pete.

Kurt counseled, “Deanna, it’s not just your comments in the moment that count. It’s your actions—owning up to your mistakes, not throwing others under the bus, getting back to business. Yes, it’s really your actions.”

In other words, we’ve got to walk the talk—day in and day out.

My obsession with our Super Bowl loss lasted past the allotted 24 hours, not because I was mourning our last-second chance for a parade, but because I kept comparing a gridiron defeat to our lives as Christians. We’re surrounded by people suffering loss, not Sunday afternoon disappointments, but real losses–loved ones, careers, health. I thought about our words and how often they can sound trite in the moment. To those who don’t know a God of love and compassion, hope and promise, we fumble through platitudes: Everything happens for a reason… God works in mysterious ways… I’ll pray for you…

Yes, even telling someone that I’ll pray for you can sound flip, if I’m not careful. Kurt reminded me that first we pray–for ourselves. With God’s help I can take that first step in walking the talk, remembering it’s not just what I say in the moment that’s as important as what I do, the example I set—day in and day out.