On my way to the MGM Grand this morning to help one of my favorite companies, Shootsac, set up their WPPI booth (just for the fun of it and for the free stuff!), I kept saying to myself, “Don’t forget: this is not your vineyard.”

Say what?

In the first chapter of Song of Songs it says, “My mother’s sons were angry with me; they made me keeper of the vineyards, but my own vineyard I have not kept!” (1:6b)

This verse bounced violently around in my head as the WPPI signs welcomed me to the convention.

wppi las vegas

Of the many things we gave up to move to Las Vegas to start Advance Church, my photography business was one of them. I knew when we decided to leave MN that re-launching Kristen Lunceford Photography in Vegas would be at the very bottom of our priority list, and that it would be months and months and months before I could even entertain the idea of picking up my camera professionally again.

Church planting aside, setting up home in a new city and helping my family learn to live and thrive here is an all-consuming marathon on a good week. As tempting as it is to start adding photoshoots to my weekly list of things to do, I know doing so would spoil everything in my primary vineyard. Nancy Wilson says it this way:

“God has given us our [husband] and children as our ministry. We must not look elsewhere for fulfillment or success. We must excel where He has put us, and after we have a thriving, healthy vineyard, we certainty may look around for more ground to work.”

I hold tightly to these words every time I get the itch to start re-designing my branding and blog instead of doing that third load of laundry or writing that grocery list or watching that puppet show or talking vision for Advance over a glass of wine with my husband.

My primary vineyard is not thriving yet, and I have no problems admitting that. I honestly don’t mind waiting to relaunch something good while I tend to something better. This is by no means easy, though, and I love how fellow adoptive mom and wildly successful photographer Kristin Rogers addresess this tension:

When you are a mom, you don’t have blog statistics to see how many people are keeping up on your awesome mommy skills, you don’t have Facebookers “liking” your play time, you don’t have “fans” complimenting your skills at training and bathing your children. In the photography business you can get a lot of recognition, encouragement & accolades for a rad picture, an exciting blog you post, a feature you get or client you land. There are rewards of a payment at the end of your job.

Mothers obviously don’t receive the same recognition for our work, time, tears, efforts and chores. Not like we do with photography. It is tempting to crave it or even need that to know you are doing a good job that others appreciate and value your work. We may take unnecessary jobs to make sure we can blog frequently…to see those comments or our exposure and stats rise. But this is something we need not feed.

Read Kristin’s full post about balancing photography and motherhood, and then take a long look around at your own vineyards. Where do you need to redirect your time, talent, and treasure to ensure that the primary thing God has given you to care for is thriving?