Have you ever heard of ASMR? I hadn’t until a cab driver turned on a radio talk show. It was a long ride and Rick and I got to hear quite a bit of the program. Apparently, many people are becoming addicted to an “autonomy sensory meridian response” they get by making and/or viewing YouTube videos. The sounds and visuals can bring on calming, pleasurable feelings often accompanied by a tingling sensation.
Tingles? Do they mean the kind of sensations people feel when physically attracted? Can you have the same tingle anytime, anywhere with a thumb stroke and mundane YouTube video? Or do they mean tingles people get from taking dozens of Selfies? I was taught how to take one by a friend, but when I looked at mine, I just wished that old broad would get out of the way, so I could see the waterfall or city scene behind her.
How many are captivated and captured by these tingly feelings? I wondered. So, I found a YouTube video guaranteed to give a viewer ASMR. Hundreds of thousands of people “like” it. So, curious, I clicked and watched a girl whisper and tap her fingers and scrape her nails up and down a party hat. My response: zip.
It made me a little sad to think of all the thousands of people searching for tingles. I’ve had them. Well, not the ASMR calming ones, but soul-shaking sensations that make my hair stand on end and raise goosebumps. They’ve come when I’m reading scripture, and something I’ve read a hundred times before suddenly takes on a new, startling meaning applicable to me personally. Scripture is God-breathed, living, sharper than a two-edged sword. I’ve had spine-tingling moments of revelation where I know I’ve just had an intimate, mind-bending encounter with God. He’s revealing something important, something soul-deep that He wants me to understand. The sensation is like God literally standing close enough that I can feel His breath against my skin. Those moments are infrequent, amazing, surprising, faith-building. They come most often after a year-long quest for God’s perspective about whatever question or issue is eluding me.
I’d like to be able to call up those feelings any time with a mouse-click, but those tingles would be a poor substitute. The feeling I long for comes from God alone, in His time, in His way, and for His purpose. I know others of faith in Christ who have experienced the same marvelous interaction with God. I wonder if those infrequent breath-catching moments are a hint of what His sons and daughters will feel when this temporal life is done and we stand before His throne in heaven.
The real thing cannot be conjured.