You'll hear many clinicians talk about the fact that horses don't learn from the pressure, they learn from the release. In other words, they don't learn from the asking, they learn when we quit asking.
Softness is a direct result of how hard we ask and how hard we quit asking. If we ask hard, we'd better quit asking hard if we want our horses to stay soft. The bigger the ask, the bigger that release had better be.
In the beginning, there are times when we do have to ask a little harder to get them to move their feet or give through their face. Instead of just contact with the leg or a pick up on the rein, we have to bump with the spur or bump with the rein. Where the training part comes in is matching your release to the intensity of how you ask. The harder you ask, the more release there should be in your rein and your leg. Quit asking and leave them alone.
When it comes to God we're not much different. We can be under a lot of pressure in life and searching for a way out, searching for some peace and happiness. God lets us endure that pressure because not only do we grow during those times but the reality of it is that it's the pressure that makes the release seem sweeter.